What is contact tracing, and how does it work with COVID-19? The goal of contact tracing is to alert people who may have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus, so they won’t spread it to others. The process is key to containing the virus and allowing places to reopen more safely, but it isn’t easy. After a person tests positive, contact tracers would try to get in touch with the people they had been around. Those people would be asked to self-isolate and monitor themselves for symptoms. For those showing symptoms, the tracing process would start all over again.