Contact Tracing Update

Speed read:

  • 1,352 cases assigned (29% of the week’s cases)
  • 68% of the 29% assigned were interviewed
  • 66.1% interviewed within 24 hours of case receipt
  • 1,969 contacts generated (avg of 2.1/case)
  • 88% of contacts were notified
  • 79% of reachable contacts notified within 24 hours
  • Keep in mind the statistics above all apply to just 29% of the new cases July 12-18
  • 1 day, 1 hour, 42 minutes: avg time from case assignment to all contacts notified


General Dynamics, the first of two firms hired to help the state with contact tracing, has completed a full week of tracing. During the week of July 12-18, the firm was assigned 1,352 cases. The state had 4,669 new cases that week, so the firm was only assigned 29% of the week’s cases. Of those 29%, General Dynamics completed contact tracing interviews with 69.7% of them. It took, on average, just over 1 day from new case assignment to contact notification (when successful).

First, let’s do a quick overview of contact tracing. The firm reaches out to the positive case, determines their contacts, then reaches out to those contacts. With that in mind, we really have two stages of tracing: the new case and the contacts. We’ll look at each of those two groups separately.

New Cases

As mentioned above, the firm successfully interviewed 69.7% of its assigned new cases. It classified 14.6% as unreachable and attempted to reach 99.5% of its assigned cases. Of the successful interviews, 66.1% were completed within the first 24 hours of receiving the new case. The firm attempted to contact 95% of the new cases within 24 hours.

It took, on average, 21 hours and 44 minutes to reach new contacts.


The 1,352 new cases generated 1,969 contacts, an average of 2.1 contacts per case. The firm successfully notified 88.3% of these contacts and deemed 5.5% unreachable. It attempted to reach 98.5% of the contacts. Of the “reachable” contacts, 78.7% were contacted within 24 hours of being identified as contact. The firm attempted to reach 89% of the contacts.

It took, on average 12 hours and 44 minutes to reach identified contacts.

Update to come:

I’m awaiting clarification on the average time to contact for new cases and for identified contacts. Will post when I get it.


Rob Wells

Rob Wells, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Journalism at the University of Arkansas School of Journalism and Strategic Media.


The University of Arkansas School of Journalism and Strategic Media operates this site as an independent source of news and as a community service for Arkansas residents. Students produce the content here under the supervision of Rob Wells, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Journalism. The data presented here is collected at roughly the same time each day from the Arkansas Department of Health website.

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