A National Plan to Enable Comprehensive COVID-19 Case Finding and Contact Tracing in the US

Date of Publication
2020

To manage COVID-19 epidemics going forward, communities in the United States need: (1) ready access to rapid diagnostic tests for all symptomatic cases or those with a reasonable suspicion of COVID-19 exposure; (2) widespread serological testing to understand underlying rates of infection and identify those who have developed immunity and could potentially return to work or school without fear of becoming infected; and (3) the ability to trace all contacts of reported cases.

In order to trace all contacts, safely isolate the sick, and quarantine those exposed, we estimate that our public health workforce needs to add approximately 100,000 (paid or volunteer) contact tracers to assist with this large-scale effort.

This plan outlines a vision for how to accomplish this goal, including ways that case identification and contact tracing capabilities can be greatly expanded; actions that the federal, state, and local governments and other organizations must take to stand up these capabilities as quickly as possible; and resources that will be needed to accomplish comprehensive case finding and contact tracing.