Contact tracing — coronavirus (COVID-19)

Current contact tracing alerts

There are currently no contact tracing alerts.

To prevent the spread:

  • Stay home if you are sick
  • If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, get tested then isolate at home until you get the results and your symptoms resolve
  • Stay 1.5 metres away from other people—think two big steps
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, or hand sanitiser
  • Leave a location if it is crowded.

If you have any concerns about your health, contact your doctor or contact 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

Contact tracing for COVID-19

If a person gets a positive test result for COVID-19, we do what is called ‘contact tracing’. This is to prevent the virus spreading further through the community. It is the same process that we use with other contagious viruses like measles.

As part of this process, we speak to the sick person to find out who might have had close contact with them when they would have been infectious.

If there are people who had close contact with the sick person, our staff get in touch with them directly. If they start showing symptoms, we get them assessed faster and take the right action.

If we can’t find the people who had been in close contact with a person who tested positive, we will issue an alert on our website and through media and social media. This lists the dates, times and places where the sick person was. We ask the public who may have had contact with that sick person at one of those times or places to contact us.

Close contact

Close contacts are people who have had face-to-face contact with a confirmed or probable case for more than 15 minutes in total over the course of a week. For example, having three chats of five minutes each over seven days is considered 15 minutes total contact.

Close contacts are also people who have shared an enclosed space with a confirmed or probable case for more than two hours.

This contact period is counted from 48 hours before the start of the person’s symptoms.

We are not looking for people who passed the sick person on the street or in a shop, as the risk to them is extremely low.

The local public health unit will tell you if you have been deemed a close contact of someone who has COVID-19. They may direct you to quarantine in provided accommodation for 14 days. If you get sick with any COVID-19 symptoms during that period, even mild, get tested immediately.

If you haven’t already been contacted by health authorities and think you should be deemed a close contact of a confirmed case, call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

Hoax COVID-19 messages

We have received reports of COVID-19 themed hoax text messages (SMS) and emails, for example, notifying people they are a close contact to a confirmed COVID-19 positive case. These messages usually include a link or may ask for personal information including banking or superannuation details.

If you receive one of these messages, delete the message and do not click the link or provide personal or financial information. If you are a genuine close contact the Public Health Team will continue to attempt to make contact. To verify if a message received is genuine, call the public health unit closest to you.

If you have already clicked the link, or given personal or financial information to the sender, contact your financial institution immediately for advice. For more information visit the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission: Scam watch.

How we classify COVID-19 cases

  • Overseas acquired: the person was infected while in another country
  • Interstate acquired: the person was infected in another Australian state
  • Locally acquired—close contact with confirmed case: the person was infected in Queensland, but the source of the infection has been identified, for example a household or workplace contact.
  • Locally acquired—no known contact (may also be called Community transmission): the person was infected in Queensland and the source of the infection hasn't been found through contact tracing and further testing.

Sustained community transmission is when we have multiple cases of locally acquired COVID-19 where the contact tracing and testing is unable to identify how the person was infected.

This means that the virus has been passed to one or more people, who have then gone on to infect other people. When this happens, the virus can begin spreading very quickly and additional restrictions may be put in place to stop the spread.

We use genomic (DNA) sequencing to compare samples of confirmed cases and link them to other known cases.