Contact Tracing in Gallatin County

Contact tracing is a vital tool in the fight against COVID-19 in our communities. Find more information below.

Contact tracing identifies, notifies, and monitors the close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Contact Tracing is an important tool to contain COVID-19 outbreaks. A close contact to someone with COVID-19 may develop the illness and spread it to others, so identifying and quarantining those who were exposed is key to stopping the spread.

Contact tracing identifies those who were exposed to COVID-19. The CDC estimates that 40% of transmission occurs before the first symptom develops. Close contacts are alerted to monitor their health for symptoms of COVID-19 and to self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure. Identifying close contacts quickly can prevent the spread of COVID-19 to someone else.

A close contact is a person who was within 6 feet of someone infected with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes. This contact occurs while the person was infectious or 2 days before symptoms started to the end of the person’s isolation.

There are 4 steps involved in contact tracing:

  • Identify a positive case. If a person tests positive for COVID-19, the testing laboratory notifies the local health department of the positive test.
  • Interview. A health department official that is trained in contact tracing interviews the person who tested positive in order to find close contacts.
  • Notify close contacts. Health department staff will then notify the close contacts of a person who tested positive. To protect privacy, the close contacts will not know with whom they came in close contact.
  • Provide resources. Close contacts get instructions for quarantining and other resources, if needed.  Health department staff will check in with close contacts frequently. If symptoms develop, the close contact is referred to a testing center. Delivery services (medications, food, essentials) can also be arranged at this time.

Health department staff will call to notify that you are a close contact and to quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure. Health department staff will regularly check in with you, and if you develop symptoms, they can refer you for testing.

Like discussions with your healthcare provider, discussions with health department staff are also confidential. Your name or personal information is not shared with your close contacts. Your open and honest responses will help health department staff focus resources to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Sara Alert

We are happy to announce that beginning on July 29, 2020, the Gallatin City-County Health Department will be participating in a pilot launch of an innovative new tool called Sara Alert, to support our monitoring and reporting of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Sara Alert is a standards-based, open source tool that will allow us to efficiently monitor individuals at risk for COVID-19, enabling real-time insights and increased reporting capability to support containment of the virus. The tool allows individuals, who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or potentially exposed to the virus, to report daily symptoms through web, text, email, and robocall. We see this as a force multiplier and an opportunity to apply our time more efficiently to follow-up and coordinate care where most needed.

Learn more about Sara Alert here.

More Sara Alert Resources:


Governor's Face Covering Directive
COVID-19 printable resources
Governor Bullock's Reopening MT phased approach
Governor Bullock's Guidelines and Considerations for Reopening Businesses and Schools
Governor Bullock's Guidelines and Considerations for Reopening Businesses and Schools