Contact tracing

Introduction

Contact tracing means finding people who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. This work is done by contact tracers.

If you test positive for COVID-19, a contact tracer will call you to find out who you have been in close contact with.

After the contact tracer identifies your close contacts, they will call them to arrange their COVID-19 tests.

This document explains the process of contact tracing, what to do if you are a close contact, and how the COVID Tracker app works.

Contact tracing

If you test positive and have symptoms, the contact tracer will ask you about the people and places you visited in the 48 hours before your symptoms started and until you started self-isolating.

If you test positive for COVID-19 but you do not have symptoms, they will ask you about the people and places you visited in the 24 hours before your test took place and until you started self-isolating.

Contact tracers do not ask about people you may have passed by on the street or in a shop.

What happens if I am a close contact of someone with COVID-19?

If you are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will get:

  • A call from a contact tracer or
  • An alert on your mobile phone, if you have the COVID Tracker app

A contact tracer will arrange a COVID-19 test for you. You should restrict your movements for 14 days – even if your test result is negative.

Read about testing for COVID-19.

COVID Tracker app

The HSE provides a contact-tracing app called ‘COVID Tracker’.

If you download the COVID Tracker app to your phone, it can alert you if you have been in close contact with someone else who uses the app and has tested positive for coronavirus. You won't know who the contact is or where the contact happened.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be asked if you want to share anonymous data logged by the app to alert other users who have been in close contact with you.

The app uses Bluetooth technology and anonymous IDs to log other nearby phones that have the app and to identify phones that have been closer than 2 metres for more than 15 minutes. This data is stored on your phone unless you choose to share it with the HSE if you test positive.

You can also use the app to track symptoms and get advice.

You can download the app for free if your smartphone:

  • Is less than 5 years old
  • Uses iOS 13.5 (or higher) or Android 6.0 (or higher)

To find out more about the app, and to download it, visit covidtracker.gov.ie.

Page edited: 29 September 2020