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Contact tracing in courts

January 27, 2021

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “contact tracing is the process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a disease to prevent onward transmission.” Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, this tool has been implemented by governments to help slow the spread of the disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  says this tool, “is part of a process that prevents further transmission of disease by separating people who have (or may have) an infectious disease from people who do not. ” Contact tracing is commonly used with other diseases, but has become more prominent with the pandemic.

Contact tracing slows the spread of COVID-19 by:

  • Letting people know they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and should monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • Helping people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to get tested
  • Asking people to self-isolate if they have COVID-19 or self-quarantine if they were in close contact of someone with COVID-19

The Superior Court in Orange County California, issued Administrative order no. 20/26: Procedure for mandatory attorney participation in contact tracing. This order established contact tracing for all attorneys who physically appear in court. If an attorney tests positive, the record of which attorney appeared in which courtroom will expedite the tracing and notification process. The process uses an app downloaded to an attorney’s smartphone which allows the attorney to scan as he/she enters a courtroom.

The CDC has resources to help business and governments  implement contact tracing.  Follow the National Center for State Courts on FacebookTwitterInstagram, or Pinterest, and share your experiences and tell us if your court plans to implement contact tracing.