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The original item was published from 8/17/2020 9:06:24 AM to 9/17/2020 12:00:03 AM.

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Posted on: August 17, 2020

[ARCHIVED] COVID-19 Update - 8/16/20

New Jersey has 187,455 total COVID-19 positive cases and 14,073 deaths. Total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 1038 including 83 deaths.

8.16.20 covid graphs

What is Covid-19 Contact Tracing and How Does it Help?

Contact tracing is the process used to identify those who come into contact with people who have tested positive for many contagious diseases – such as measles, HIV, and COVID-19 – and is a long-standing practice in New Jersey and around the world.

Contact tracing goes hand in hand with testing. It is part of the process of supporting patients with suspected or confirmed infection.

Here’s how it works:

  • When you test positive for COVID-19, in addition to providing you with support, the lab that tested you loads your test data onto the State’s secure epidemiological surveillance system called the Communicable Disease Reporting and Surveillance System (CDRSS).
  • Your positive case is then shared with the Department of Health, who will call you to determine close contacts that you may have spread the virus to.
  • A close contact is anyone who was within six feet of you for more than 10 minutes at least two days before your positive test if you didn’t have any symptoms, or two days before your first symptom appeared.
  • Contact tracers – trained professionals from the community -- get in touch with your contacts to recommend next steps like self-quarantining and to share resources about how those people can get tested.
  • NOTE: Your information is confidential. Your name will not be released to your contacts or your COVID-19 status
  • Contacts are provided with education, information, and support to understand their risk, what they should do to separate themselves from others who are not exposed, how they should monitor themselves for illness, and the possibility that they could spread the infection to others even if they themselves do not feel ill.
  • Cape May County Health Department has been conducting contact tracing for COVID-19 since the State identified the first case on March 4.
  • The information that the Health Department is collecting is limited in scope, detail, use, and dissemination solely to what’s necessary to identify, trace, contain, and treat COVID-19.

For COVID-19, the ability to scale our contact tracing capacity is absolutely crucial to break the chain of transmission, slow community spread, and restart the economy.

It is important to note that contact tracing is a decades-old common practice in public health. It is not the same thing as "exposure notification" or "digital alerting" tools. These consumer apps, such as those created with Google and Apple’s API, are not contact tracing tools. These apps function as a way for the public to track if they have come into contact with a person who has tested positive and entered that information into their phone.

Stay up to date on the current situation as it evolve. Some reliable sources are New Jersey Poison Information and Education System Hotline at 211 or 1-800-962-1253, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at, World Health Organization at, New Jersey Department of Health at For additional information visit Cape May County Department of Health at and also like us on Facebook.

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