Submission Type

Original Research


Introduction: Despite the widespread use of contact tracing efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there are limited findings available about best practices and recommendations. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention contracted staff to conduct COVID-19 contact tracing from August 2020 through February 2022. A retrospective evaluation of this program was conducted to share lessons learned with public health and health care leaders for future use.

Methods: Contracted contact tracing staff participated in facilitated discussions structured by the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats analysis framework. Three sessions were recorded and transcribed, and qualitative analysis through thematic review and evaluation coding was conducted.

Results: The thematic review identified 27 codes of participant responses. Codes were categorized into 4 overarching themes: pandemic collective, organizational placement, team structure, and team environment. These themes led to several recommendations for future efforts.

Discussion: External networks and partnerships, strong engaged leadership, staff specialization, and use of innovative technology to foster regular communication were identified as contributors to the program’s success. The supportive team environment and collective purpose found in COVID-19 work were also important to the contact tracing team experience.

Conclusion: This study is a retrospective evaluation of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 contact tracing team. Best practices in hiring, staff engagement and retention, and collaboration were identified. These lessons are valuable for future public health emergencies and more broadly for contract tracing of other infectious diseases. Building a national consensus of best practices through systematic review or larger evaluation efforts is an important next step.



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