Contact Tracing

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Contact tracing is a tool public health uses to stop the spread of diseases. By answering the phone and talking to us when a public health worker calls you, you are helping stop the spread of COVID-19.


Handbook: COVID-19, After You Get Tested

Click to download the handbook

If you have tested positive or are waiting for test results, tell your close contacts right away so they can quarantine.

Multnomah, Clackamas, Columbia and Washington counties put together this comprehensive guide to help people who have been tested for COVID-19.

6/9/2021 UPDATED QUARANTINE GUIDANCE: This replaces the information you will find in the handbook.

  • If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine after close contact unless you have symptoms. You are considered fully vaccinated if it has been at least 2 weeks since the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or atleast two weeks since the only dose of Johnson and Johnson. 
  • If you are not fully vaccinated and have close contact with a positive case, a 14-day quarantine is the safest approach and helps reduce spread from people without symptoms. We recommend a minimum of 10 days. There is a small but significant chance of transmission from days 11-14, so it's important to continue to monitor your symptoms for a full 14 days if you end quarantine early. 

The document includes information on isolation and quarantine, what you can and can't do, how to tell close contacts you tested positive, telling your employer, ways to manage respiratory symptoms at home, how to stop the spread of germs, using a face covering properly and more.

COVID-19: Después de la prueba 


How will I know it's really Public Health calling me?

Our contact tracing staff have been issued cell phones by the county. Sometimes the caller ID will say "Washington County," but not all carriers support this. If you do not answer, we will leave a message (with no private details) and ask you to call us back. If you are unsure about a call you received, you can call us at 503-846-8123 to make sure it was a legitimate call.

What questions do contact investigators ask?

  • We ask where you have been and who you have had close contact with in the last few weeks. A close contact is someone you were within six feet of for at least 15 minutes in a 24-hour period, with or without face coverings.
  • We ask about your health, housing situation and employment. 
  • We ask you if you have what you need to stay safe and recover. We can help you come up with a plan to stay home safely.
  • We do not ask for social security numbers or credit cards. We do not ask about immigration status. We do not share your identity with the federal government.

What if I need help to be able to stay home?

Tell the contact investigator who calls you that you need help. Washington County and our community-based partner organizations may be able to help with rent, groceries, utilities and other essential expenses if you need to stay home from work.

What else do I need to know?

The virus spreads easily among household members if precautions are not taken. Our Protect Your Household page includes a video to help you prevent household spread, advice for monitoring symptoms, how to take care of an ill person, and more.