Novel Coronavirus COVID-19
 

Contact Tracing


Case and contact investigation of confirmed cases of COVID-19 remains one of the most effective public health strategies to reduce transmission in our province.

Contact tracing is a critical step in helping to control and prevent further transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Close contacts of individuals who tested positive are notified when they are at risk and are instructed to take appropriate public health measures.


On this page:




What is contact tracing?

When a Manitoban tests positive for COVID-19, public health officials will immediately initiate a follow-up process to all individuals identified as a close contact to a case. They will:

  • Let people know they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and should monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Help people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 get tested based on their symptoms.
  • Ask people to self-isolate (quarantine) if they are a close contact.
  • Ask people instructed to self-isolate (quarantine) if they require any assistance to follow guidance (i.e. food).



What is a close contact?

A close contact is anyone who has been in close physical proximity (less than two metres or six feet) for more than 15 minutes to someone who has COVID-19.  It also includes people who provided care for the case or had direct contact with infectious body fluids.

You are a close contact when:

  • You were less than two metres or six feet away for 15 minutes or more, even if you were wearing a non-medical mask.
  • You had multiple close interactions with someone over a 24-hour period (even if each was less than 15 minutes).
  • You had close physical contact with the person, such as a hug.
  • You live or provide care to someone in the same home.

You are not a close contact when:

  • You had brief close contact (less than 15 minutes)
  • You had prolonged close contact while wearing medical grade personal protective equipment
  • You passed by someone quickly.
  • You greeted someone and kept your distance of two metres or six feet.
  • You made a delivery to someone who was self-isolating but had no contact at the time.



Who does contact tracing?

To support case investigation, contact tracing and daily follow-up of cases and contacts during self-isolation (quarantine), you may be contacted by a public health official. Given the scale of Manitoba’s response, public health officials include regional public health staff, the Public Health COVID-19 Contact Centre, Canadian Red Cross, 24-7Intouch and other partners.

Statistics Canada, through an agreement with the federal government, will also be providing contact tracing services to Manitoba.

Contact tracing will now include follow-up automated phone calls and text messages for more efficient case monitoring and investigation.

Manitoba residents have access to the Health Canada COVID Alert app. The app provides digital COVID-19 exposure alerts once the app is downloaded to a smart phone. If the confirmed case has been using the COVID Alert app, a public health official will issue a one-time-key for the patient to enter into the app.




What can you expect during contact tracing?

Contact tracing consists of case investigations, contact notification, and active monitoring and follow-up.

  • Case investigations - Public health officials contact a confirmed COVID-19 case to identify their close contacts.
  • Contact notification - Public health officials notify close contacts of their exposure to COVID-19 and provide instructions on how to self-isolate (quarantine).
  • Active monitoring/follow-up - Public health officials contact confirmed cases and close contacts during their isolation period to review symptoms and isolation.

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19:

  • A public health official will contact you to check on your health.
  • They will ask you questions about where you might have been exposed to COVID-19 and have you identify who you were in contact with to understand how COVID-19 may have spread to others.
  • Take the time to complete the contract tracing resource tool (pdf) while you are waiting for your test results.
  • You will also be asked to stay at home and isolate, if you are not doing so already.
  • Continue to monitor your health. If your symptoms worsen or become severe, you should contact Health Links - Info Santé at 204-788-8200 (Winnipeg) or toll-free 1-888-315-9257.
  • You will continue to receive follow-up calls either by a public health official or by automated phone calls or text message until your case is closed.

If you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19:

  • A public health official will call you to inform you that you may have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • You should stay at home and self-isolate (quarantine) for 14 days, starting from the last day you were possibly exposed to COVID-19.
  • Continue to monitor your health. You should take your temperature twice a day, watch for fever and other symptoms of COVID-19, and notify Health Links - Info Santé at 204-788-8200 (Winnipeg) or toll-free 1-888-315-9257 if you do develop symptoms.
  • You will continue to receive follow-up calls either by a public health official or by automated phone call until you are advised you can discontinue self-isolation (quarantine).

Any information you share with public health is confidential and protected under the Personal Health Information Act. This means that your personal and medical information will be kept private.




Frequently Asked Questions


You should only get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Getting tested without symptoms (asymptomatic testing) can result in a false negative because the virus may be incubating and undetectable.


Yes. Advise them you are self-isolating (quarantining) and have added them to your contact tracing resource tool that you will provide to public health officials should you develop symptoms and test positive.


If you are a living in the same household as someone awaiting test results you must self-isolate (quarantine). If you are not living in the same household, you must self-isolate (quarantine) only if you are a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case or are awaiting a test result yourself.


Public health officials in general conduct monitoring over the phone.


Public health officials will be calling from a wide range of numbers, some of which may include 204 or 431 area codes. To receive them you must remove any anonymous call-blocking settings on your phone.


Staff will never ask for personal information, such as banking information, social insurance numbers, credit card numbers, passport numbers, or other non-health related data.


Refer to the automated call system and case and contact management page on our website.