National Health Organizations Announce COVID-19 Contact Tracing Training

ASTHO & NCSD Launch Training to Ready Nation’s Contact Tracing Workforce

April 29, 2020

WASHINGTON—Today, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) announced the launch of a free, on-demand training for entry-level COVID-19 contact tracers. The course, Making Contact: A Training for COVID-19 Contact Tracers, will support ongoing public health agency efforts to prepare new contact tracers for their work of helping identify COVID-19 positive cases and those with whom they have been in close contact.

“Our organizations recognize that contact tracing is critical to our nation’s COVID-19 response. States and territories are working with CDC and other partners to build upon their existing disease investigation and contact tracing experience to scale up quickly to address COVID-19,” says Michael Fraser, CEO of ASTHO. “This course will complement federal, state, and local trainings for new contact tracers, allowing them to quickly on-board with the tools they need to help contain COVID-19 in their communities.”

The online training, which can be completed in about three hours, is designed to prepare individuals with little or no public health background to work as entry-level contact tracers. The course provides lessons on infectious disease control, especially for COVID-19, and follows the four steps of contact tracing—notify, interview, locate contacts, and monitor. These lessons can then be supplemented with local- and state-specific instructions to customize and tailor the content to the needs of individual jurisdictions.

“The key to reopening the economy is through a wide-scale contact tracing effort; the likes of which STD contact tracers are most familiar with,” says David C. Harvey, Executive Director for NCSD. “Contact tracing has been used for decades in our national response to STDs, HIV, and TB for one very good reason—it works. With this training, preparing this army for battle just became easier.”


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and Washington, D.C., as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.

The National Coalition of STD Directors is a national public health membership organization representing health department STD directors, their support staff, and community-based partners across 50 states, seven large cities, and eight U.S. territories. Our mission is to advance effective STD prevention programs and services across the country. NCSD does this as the voice of our membership. We provide leadership, build capacity, convene partners, and advocate. Go to for more information.