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Key Information to Collect During a Case Interview

Key Information to Collect During a Case Interview
Updated Oct. 21, 2020

The purpose of this document is to provide key information that should be covered in the case interview. The goals of the patient interview are to assess the patient’s medical condition, gather information for continued monitoring and support, and obtain the names and location information for contacts who may have been exposed to COVID-19.


In the beginning of the interview, it will be important that the interviewer establish a trust and rapport with the patient, reassure any concerns about confidentiality, and convey the intent to support the patient during the isolation period.  The interviewer should introduce themselves, explain the reason for calling (e.g., laboratory or provider report), explain the interview process, and begin with the collection of basic information.

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Primary language
  • Use of interpreter (if needed)

Demographic and Locating Information

The information gathered on demographic variables will help to monitor the patient and to better understand the patient’s living situation so that appropriate support is offered.

  • Preferred Name
  • Gender
  • Residential Street Address, City, State, Zip Code
  • Tribal Affiliation
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Ok to text
  • Ok to email
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Best way to reach patient for follow-up
  • Date of interview, including any dates of interview attempts

Health Information

The purpose of this section is to gather information on the patient’s symptoms, clinical course, and pre-existing conditions.  In addition, the interviewer will assess if the patient understands the COVID-19 diagnosis and their ability to infect others.  The interviewer will provide health education as needed.

Risk Factors

The purpose of assessing risk factors is to determine the patient’s exposure history, and any high-risk occupation (e.g. health care personnel (HCP)) and/or congregate living or work settings (e.g. food processing plants, correctional facilities, long-term care facilities).

  • Known close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with a confirmed COVID case
  • Occupation and workplace, if employed
  • If the patient is an HCP or first responder gather name and address of setting and whether it is a hospital, ambulatory care, urgent care, long-term care, hospice, ambulance company, fire department, law enforcement, etc.
  • If the patient lives or works in a congregate setting, gather name and address of setting and whether it is correctional facility, dorm, group home, nursing home, homeless shelter, food processing plant, multi-family household, multi-generational or high occupancy household, etc.

Contact Elicitation

Identification of close contacts exposed to the virus is one of the important components of the case interview. After carefully determining the contact elicitation window, the interviewer will ask a series of questions to ensure all close contacts (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more) are identified.

  • Determine start and end date of contact elicitation window
  • Date of contact elicitation
  • Total number of household contacts
  • Total number of intimate partners (that do not reside with patient)
  • Any other people in close contact, including coworkers
  • For each close contact, query the following:
    • Full name and other names that they are also known as (AKA)
    • Phone number
    • Email address
    • APP and username
    • Address
    • Setting where exposure occurred (home, school, day care, workplace, place of worship, shelter, hospital/medical care, travel or transit, retail setting)
    • Date of most recent exposure and duration of exposure in minutes
    • If household contact, underlying conditions which place them at higher risk for transmission and complications (if known)
      • Can include chronic lung disease, diabetes, severe obesity, cardiovascular disease (CVD), chronic renal disease, chronic liver disease, immunocompromised, pregnant (if female)
    • If contact is an HCP or first responder, gather name and address of setting and whether it is a hospital, ambulatory care, urgent care, long-term care, hospice, ambulance company, fire department, law enforcement, etc.
    • If contact lives or works in a congregate setting, gather name and address of setting and whether it is correctional facility, dorm, group home, multi-family household, multi-generational household, factory, homeless shelter, long term care facility, food processing plant, etc.
  • Ask patient about any community settings where may have exposed others
    • Can include public transportation, retail, large community social event, recreational activity, and place of worship and many others
    • For each answer, ask the following:
      • Name and address of site or facility
      • Specific area within facility (e.g., Room 208, living room)
      • Date onsite
      • Duration of time spent in each area within the facility
      • Close contacts in each area

Health Monitoring and Responding to Changes in Health Status

Each jurisdiction will develop specific guidance on symptom monitoring and reporting, and what to do if symptoms get worse; the patient should be given local resources and referrals.

Reviewing Isolation Recommendations and Resources

The interviewer will explain to the patient the importance of self-isolation, provide isolation instructions, and assess the patient’s ability to self-isolate and need for any social support.  The criteria for discontinuing self-isolation should be explained.

  • Can patient self-isolate (explain what this means)?
  • Does patient need assistance to self-isolate?


A successful case interview allows for the collection of critical information about the case and potentially exposed contacts, while providing support, referrals, and answers to questions the case may have.  Developing a trusting understanding with the patient is the key to providing the most effective support, while collecting the most accurate information to inform the next steps in the contact tracing investigation.

Appendix A

Sample Open Ended Questions for Each Contact Elicited
Sample Open Ended Questions for Each Contact Elicited
What is their name? What name do they go by?
Who old are they? What is their date of birth?
What is their gender?
Race/ethnicity? Primary language?
What is the best way to reach them? Cell number? Email? APP and username?
Where do they live? Address? Who do they live with?
Where do they work? Where is that located? City, State? What do they do (their job/role)?
When did you see them last? When did you last spend time with them? For how long (minutes/hours)?
What symptoms might they have had?
What underlying medical conditions might they have?
What do they know about your (the patient’s) COVID status?

Appendix B

Potential Contacts and Exposure Locations
Potential Contacts and Exposure Locations*
Type of Contacts Locations
Household Place of residence
Family, Friends and Social Acquaintances Family gatherings, Social residential gatherings, exercise/workout buddies, hiking or camping, hunting or fishing trips, cooking class, yoga class, dance class, other enrichment classes, book club meeting, birthday party, baby shower, wedding, funeral, barbecue, weekend getaway, block party, holiday pot-luck, vacation, visited family or friends at nursing home/group home, etc.
Transportation and Travel Lyft, Uber, carpool, bus, commuter van, light rail, train, airline travel, cruise, etc.
Workplace—Colleagues/Customers Businesses, meetings, conferences, restaurants, shops, client’s homes (e.g., carpenter, electrician, plumber), animal shelter, factory, hair salon, etc.
Community Schools, child care, grocery stores, drug stores, shops/shopping malls, restaurants, coffee shops, hardware store, bank, worship centers, movie theaters, sporting events, concerts, bars/brewhouse, night clubs, library, bowling alley, bingo hall, barber shop, hair salon, nail salon, brow or eyelash salon, day spa, tattoo shop, piercing shop, yoga studio, gym, street faire, festival, county/state fair, animal shelter, airport,  etc.
Healthcare Hospital, Emergency Room, physician offices, dialysis centers, laboratories, dentist offices, pharmacies, ambulance transport, physical therapy, etc.
Congregate (group) Living Settings Medical: hospital (inpatient); acute care facility, skilled nursing facility, long-term medical care facility, etc.
Non-Medical: long term care residential home, assisted living facility, hospice, retirement home, group home, correctional facility (prison/jail/juvenile hall), homeless shelters, multigenerational households, etc.
*Please note this list is not inclusive of all possible type of contacts or exposure locations.

Appendix C

Elicitation for Exposure Locations
Elicitation for Exposure Locations
Exposure Site (facility name & location) Exposure Area within Facility (e.g., specific rooms, location on production line) Date(s) of Exposure Duration of Time Spent in Setting Close Contact(s) (e.g., number, category, names)
e.g., visited my son at his group home about a week after my cruise potluck birthday celebration in the living room Date (one time) 1.5 hours 5 group home residents, 2 staff
Son’s bedroom Date 2 hours 1 son (group home resident)
e.g. Sunday church service at place of worship Dressing Room Date (every Sunday) 30mins (15 each prior/after) 8 choir members, 2 altar assistants
Choir Section Date (every Sunday) 1 hour 8 choir members
Meeting Hall for coffee and doughnuts Date (every Sunday) 1 hour 25 people overall, but lengthy conversation with 2 council members