What’s a Self-Contact Tracing Journal?

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has disrupted a lot of aspects of our routine life. Now that many States are opening and schools are starting, you may be excited to get back to your normal routine. That might mean sharing a meal with your loved ones, visiting your favorite shops, or talking to your neighbors. Although it is normal to miss your old routine, jumping right back into it can put you and your loved ones at risk of catching COVID. 

Two ways to protect yourself are keeping a safe social distance and wearing a face mask in public settings. But another way to help your community with the fight against COVID-19 is through Self-Contact Tracing.

What is Self-Contact Tracing?

Similar to what we previously described in “What is Contact Tracing?”, self-contact tracing means keeping an updated list of where you go and the people you encounter each day, even when you’re feeling well. The coronavirus spreads mainly from person-to-person via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person talks, sneezes, or coughs.

So why start a self-contact tracing journal? 

Since you can spread COVID before you have symptoms, keeping this list can help quickly and accurately identify your recent contacts if you do get sick. This helps you alert your contacts that they should get tested and self-quarantine, keeping them from further spreading the virus. Keeping a self-contact tracing journal improves the medical response to a known case by disrupting the transmission cycle.  

So how can you get started? You can start with these steps:

  1. Write down a list of the people you spend time with in the past few days and from then on, log your movements and contacts on a daily basis. 
  2. Monitor yourself for symptoms daily and record these in your journal.
  3. If you feel sick, plan to get tested. Inform your family and friends that you have been in contact within the past 2 weeks right away; don’t wait for your test results.
  4. If you’re exposed to someone with COVID, do the same.
  5. Be prepared to share information with your health department if you are contacted by a contact tracer

Here's a form to help organize your self contact tracing: Self Contact Tracing Form

And For more information on self-tracing, check out this graphic:



Last update: August 28, 2020, 1:32 pm ET
Science review: ERS, JAB