To mitigate the risk to others of potential exposure and to protect all on campus as much as possible, a Vanderbilt Public Health Central Command Center (the Command Center) has been established to manage contact tracing and notifications across VU communities. This Vanderbilt Command Center is a collaboration between the Nurse Faculty Practice Division in the School of Nursing, the Vanderbilt Student Health Center (SHC) and the Vanderbilt Occupational Health Center (OHC), and it will conduct contact tracing with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. By launching this robust in-house contact tracing capability, developed in collaboration with experts at VUMC, VUSN and Metro Public Health, Vanderbilt ensures coordinated contact tracing between campus and the Nashville community that is as timely as possible.
Faculty, staff, postdocs and students who live off campus and test positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate at their home/current residence and follow current CDC guidance as directed until they have recovered. Residential students who test positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate as directed by the dean of students until they have recovered.
Contact tracing generally works as follows:
- If an individual develops symptoms and is awaiting a COVID-19 test, receives a positive COVID-19 test result, or is identified as a close contact by contact tracers, then the individual stays home (or in the case of residential students, goes to quarantine space as directed by Dean of Students) until released.
- When a positive COVID-19 test result is identified, a contact tracer will be assigned immediately to the case. The contact tracer will interview the individual and identify all contacts. Close contacts are defined specifically as noted below. Close contacts are entered into a database and notified by phone and email. Information on how to proceed is relayed to each individual who is a close contact, as well as to the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) director.
- The EHS director will coordinate information among entities and activate support from the Office of the General Counsel, Dean of Students, Human Resources, Facilities/Disinfection, VEHS, and Communications.
- The contact tracer will relay information about any non-VU close contacts to the Metro Public Health department.
Please note that during this process the name of the index case will be disclosed to possible contacts, but protected health information will not be disclosed.
Per both VU Return to Campus protocol and CDC guidance, a close contact is defined as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive test collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
Things to Remember: