Answer the Call: CT Contact Tracers on a Mission to Slow COVID-19 Spread

From language barrier to mistrust, efforts to trace the contacts of Covid-19 patients have become a nationwide problem.

By Angela Barbosa

From language barrier to mistrust, efforts to trace the contacts of Covid-19 patients have become a nationwide problem.

In Connecticut, the contact tracing program is run by the Department of Public Health (DPH), using recommendations based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Understanding the importance of protecting family, friends and whomever a COVID-19 positive patient comes in contact with may prevent people from going out and infecting others because they don’t know the basics. 

An exclusive interview with Community Outreach Specialist and Contact Tracer Amanda Sheldon, sheds light on some of the many misconceptions and fears that can get in the way of helping stop the spread of the virus. 


Tribuna - Contact Tracers: who are they and what’s their role during the pandemic?

Amanda - Contact Tracers are people from various communities, who reach out to the residents to check on how they are and to offer support. 


Tribuna- What are some of the common fears you have identified in the Brazilian/Portuguese communities?

Amanda- I think common fears include a hesitation to accept the support offered by the state and to find medical help that speaks their language. 


Tribuna - What should someone who has contracted COVID-19 know?

Amanda - First, if you have symptoms, isolate yourself immediately. Find a place that does drive-through testing and wait for the results. If a positive test result comes back, call your medical provider in case you need any medical advice. Continue your isolation and monitor your symptoms, especially for fever and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Check your temperature twice daily and keep yourself hydrated. Your isolation period may end after 10 days (counting from the day your symptoms started) and you can end it if you are fever free 48 hours prior to the last day without the help of any medication to ease the fever and if you don`t have any severe symptom such as shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. 


Tribuna - What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Amanda - The most rewarding aspect of my job is supporting families, not just financially, but also calling and guiding them through this tough time. 


Tribuna – Where can residents obtain more information in different languages?

Amanda - The CDC website ( is set up with many languages available with information about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccination to help all residents. 


Tribuna - Are you the only contact tracer that can provide assistance in Portuguese in CT?

Amanda - I am the only Community Outreach Specialist who speaks Portuguese, but there are a few other contact tracers who speak Portuguese. 

Tribuna – What would you say to encourage the immigrant community to test and take the vaccine against COVID-19?

Amanda - My message is: if you have symptoms do not hesitate to get tested and always remember to isolate yourself from others and follow all the COVID-19 safety guidelines. 

If someone tests positive and receives a call from the COVID TRACE Team, do not be afraid to answer the phone. We are here to help!

It is important that you get vaccinated to protect you and your loved ones. The vaccine is safe, and it will give you immunity from this virus. Don`t waste any time and make your vaccine appointment as soon as you can and always remember that the best vaccine is the one you can get. 


If you are interested in joining the Connecticut Contact Tracing Team, there are job opportunities available. For more information, please visit