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COVID-19 Cases: Positive Case, Close Contact, Contact Tracing

Posted by on Friday, July 23, 2021 in .

Contact Tracing

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 and is unvaccinated, 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 tracing survey will be sent to the individual who tested positive. The individual who is positive must complete the survey which determines all of the necessary information for contact tracing.  A contact tracer will review the information submitted and contact the individual who is positive if further information is required.
  • Vaccinated close contacts will receive notification and instructions by email.
  • Unvaccinated close contacts will be called by a contact tracer, interviewed and given instructions for quarantine.
  • 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 Vanderbilt protocol and  CDC guidance, a  close contact  is defined as any individual who was within  6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic persons, 2 days prior to positive test collection) until the time the person is isolated.

Things to remember:

  • Incidental exposure such as walking by someone in the hallway, using the same equipment or the same area/room is not close contact.
  • Surface contamination is not a primary pathway of concern per the  CDC. Public areas will be frequently disinfected  by Facilities/Plant Operations.

Positive Case/Isolation

Members of the Vanderbilt community who have received a COVID-19 positive test result from an entity other than Student Health or Occupational Health, regardless of vaccination status, should complete the following  webform. More information can be found on the Command Center FAQ.

Individuals will receive direct communication from the Command Center about their isolation. If you have a positive test result:

  • You remain in isolation for 5 days after your symptoms started or tested positive, whichever came first. You can return to campus activities after 5 days of isolation if symptoms have improved or you remain asymptomatic.
  • You are required to monitor symptoms and wear a tight-fitting mask for 5 additional days.
  • If living on-campus, email  dosmazikcare@vanderbilt.edu  for isolation housing instructions.

Quarantine/Close Contact

Members of the Vanderbilt community who have been informed they are a close contact from sources external from the university, regardless of vaccination status, should complete the following  webform. More information can be found on the Command Center FAQ.

If you are a close contact:

  • You should continue participating in on-campus activities provided you are vaccinated and do not have COVID-19 symptoms. You must monitor symptoms and wear a tight-fitting mask at all times for 10 days.
  • If you are unvaccinated, then you should quarantine for 5 days from the last exposure to the positive person and we recommend you test at day 5.

If you develop any covid symptoms, you should get tested as soon as possible and shelter in place until you get a negative test result. For more information on testing, please visit the COVID-19 Testing FAQ.

Officials with the university’s Public Health Central Command Center will continue to make determinations of quarantine periods for unvaccinated close contacts. Close contacts who reside on-campus and need to quarantine will move to quarantine housing. Close contacts who reside off-campus and need to quarantine will quarantine at their residences.

Classes

Students in quarantine and isolation should contact their instructors to discuss a plan to access class material and make up missed work. Faculty will work with students as they do other times when a student misses class due to a medical condition. 

Immunity eligibility for students

Students are expected to be forthcoming and honest when providing information to contact tracers. A student who provides information about their prior possession or use of alcohol or other drugs and any resulting intoxication, or prior violation of Vanderbilt’s COVID-19 protocols, during contact tracing will be eligible for immunity from disciplinary action in order to facilitate accurate information reporting. Similarly, a student who provides information in a Title IX investigation about their prior possession or use of alcohol or other drugs and any resulting intoxication or prior violation of Vanderbilt’s COVID-19 protocols, will be eligible for immunity from disciplinary action in order to facilitate accurate information reporting during the investigation. On the other hand, failure to be truthful and forthcoming during contact tracing will result in disciplinary action.