Implementation of close contact elicitation at the time of COVID-19 testing—Atlanta, GA, October–November 2020


Contact tracing during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the USA has been met with various challenges. In an attempt to improve the yield of close contact collection, the Fulton County Board of Health implemented a pilot approach to contact elicitation at the time of testing.


Between October and November 2020, close contacts were elicited from persons under investigation (PUIs) at one COVID-19 testing site in Fulton County, GA. Secure online data collection forms were used to record PUI demographic data, close contact information and reasons for not providing contacts.


Of 1238 PUIs, 48% reported at least one contact. Among the 66 people who tested positive, 16 (24%) reported contacts compared to 578/1165 (50%) who tested negative. PUIs of increasing age were less likely to provide contacts; Black and Hispanic PUIs were also less likely to report any contacts compared to White and Asian PUIs.


Our study revealed that PUIs testing positive were less likely to provide contacts compared to PUIs testing negative. Age and racial differences were also noted in the provision of contacts. Further investigation is needed to understand these discrepancies in order to devise more effective strategies for contact elicitation.

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