Contact tracing allows us to identify those that are at the highest risk of catching the virus from a person who has been confirmed as having COVID-19 through a positive PCR test.
Contact tracing starts with a positive PCR test
The contact tracing process only starts when there has been a laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19 established through a positive PCR test.
Only at the point that a PCR test comes back positive for COVID-19 does the contact tracing process begin.
On confirmation of a COVID-19 positive PCR result
If a COVID-19 positive PCR test is confirmed the contact tracing team will let the individual know their result as soon as possible, usually by SMS text message or email.
The contact tracing team will then have a number of conversations with the individual over the coming days to establish as complete a picture as possible of people that they may have come into close contact with during the active stage of their infection.
If a child or minor tests positive the contact tracing team will speak to their responsible adult, usually a parent.
An active COVID-19 positive person is usually infectious up to 72 hours prior to the start of any of their COVID-19 symptoms and up to the end of significant symptoms, plus 48 hours. For individuals who are asymptomatic (for instance, they experience no symptoms), the contagious period is taken to be approximately 72 hours prior to the date of their positive test results and up to 14 days after their test.
Contact tracers may assess a slightly longer time period on a case by case basis, for example with asymptomatic patients or because of the antibody results of an individual.
Contact tracers will ask those that have tested positive who they met up to 10 days before testing positive. This is called backwards contact tracing and looks to identify where the infection may have occurred and who else may now be positive for COVID-19. This is particularly important because so many individuals don't have symptoms, they associate with COVID-19.
Direct contacts and indirect contacts
Contact tracers do not reveal the identity of the person who has tested positive without their full consent.
Through the contact tracing process, the intention is to identify everyone who may have spent more than 15 minutes (inside or outside) within 2 metres or less, or had direct physical contact without personal protective equipment, with an individual who is currently an active positive person.
If you're a direct contact of a positive case, the contract tracing team will contact you and advise you of your potential risk from exposure to the virus. They will provide advice and guidance on your general welfare, isolation and possible testing.
All direct contacts of a confirmed case will be offered PCR testing.
An indirect contact is anyone who was outside this distance and duration, did not have physical contact or wore suitable personal protective equipment. Indirect contacts may be invited for testing.
The details of indirect contacts of a positive case may be recorded. Dependent on the individual circumstances, indirect contacts may be asked to isolate and/or to undergo a PCR (swab) test.
Informing direct contacts
If you are aged over 18 and have been identified as a direct contact you will receive an SMS message informing you of this and asking you
isolate immediately. This will then be followed up by a phone call from the contact tracing team, who will arrange to book your PCR (swab) tests. Don't call the helpline to book your test, unless you develop symptoms.
COVID Alert app
If you have downloaded and activated the Jersey COVID Alert app, you may receive an exposure alert if you are a direct contact. If you receive an alert, and did not request call back when you set up the app, you should call the helpline on
0800 735 5566.
COVID Alert app
If you think you're a direct contact
If you've been identified as a direct contact, you'll be contacted by the contact tracing team within 72 hours.
If you think you're a direct contact and haven't been contacted, you should wait 72 hours before calling the helpline on 0800 735 5566 and consider self-isolating during this period.
When you contact the helpline, give details on why you think you're a direct contact with the person that you know has tested positive.
Check the definition of a direct contact before contacting the helpline.
The person that has tested positive can then discuss this with the contact tracing team.
A confirmed positive case within the workplace, school or other setting
If an individual within a workplace, school or other setting is confirmed with a positive PCR test then the contact tracing team will take the necessary action. It is important that you let the team carry out their work.
Through conversations with the positive individual the contact tracing team will determine who are their direct and indirect contacts during their infectious stage.
The contact tracing team will contact all those that have been identified as direct contacts and provide them with advice of isolation and possible testing.
Indirect contacts of the positive do not need to go home and self-isolate, unless they are instructed to do so by the contact tracing team. They only need to contact the helpline should they develop symptoms themselves.
More information for parents and students about contact tracing in education settings
Reduce the number of direct contacts you have
While COVID-19 is still with us, you should continue keeping a smaller social circle than usual. The fewer interactions you have, the less likely you are to be identified as a direct contact.
You're advised to keep a record of times and dates of everyone you come into contact with (this could be in a work or social setting), should this be required at a later date for contact tracing purposes.
Employers should consider the implications of the contact tracing process on their business continuity. The smaller the number of indirect or direct contacts that all employees have, then then smaller the risk of the spread of the disease and the smaller the impact on staffing levels, should there be a confirmed case with in their work setting.
If all staff retain a 2 metre distance or only pass briefly within 2 metres (for less than 15 minutes) and there is a confirmed positive case within the workplace then the contact tracing team would not usually assess anyone as a direct contact and would not need to contact other staff members and ask them to isolate.
Collecting contact information
It's important that officers with responsibility for contact tracing have access to information that enables them to quickly identify and contact individuals who may have come into direct contact with an infected person.
For this reason, individuals are advised to keep a record of times and dates of everyone they come into contact with (this could be in a work or social setting).
In addition, those operating businesses, organisations and activities where this may happen are asked, where practicable, to keep a record of people who are using their services or who attend gatherings.
Advice for businesses: collecting contact information
Further information is available to support business in doing this from the
Office of the Information Commissioner.
Posters for contact tracing
Contact tracing poster for print
Contact tracing poster for print with bleeds
Contact tracing A3 poster for print
Contact tracing A3 poster for print with bleeds
Contact tracing poster for print Polish
Contact tracing poster for print with bleed Polish
Contact tracing poster for print Portuguese
Contact tracing poster for print with bleed Portuguese
Contact tracing poster for print Romanian
Contact tracing poster for print with bleed Romanian
The Government of Jersey has an important and vital obligation to protect the ongoing health of Jersey's general public and undertake measures to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Government may need to request information about you from others, for example when you may have come in to contact with someone who has the virus or where we have no other means of contacting you.
Government of Jersey Coronavirus (COVID-19) privacy notice provides details about how this information will be collected, stored and shared in respect to data protection legislation.
Additional information is available from the
Jersey Office of the Information Commissioner which has published a statement of data protection and coronavirus.