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Summer 2021 COVID-19 Testing: Staff

Posted by on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 in .

SYMPTOMATIC TESTING AND/OR TESTING OUTSIDE OF THE VUMC SYSTEM

Staff who have symptoms related to COVID-19, have received a positive COVID-19 test result outside the VUMC system, or have been officially notified that they are a close contact to a COVID-19 positive person must call the Occupational Health Center (OHC) at 615-936-0955 to receive guidance for their symptoms, possible testing, isolation/quarantine period and return to campus criteria. Staff with symptoms can also call the VUMC COVID-19 hotline at (888) 312-0847 daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m to be assessed and directed to the nearest open testing site. VU employees can also report to the ePod testing location at Med Center East with their badge to be tested even without checking with OHC first or waiting to hear back from OHC. If OHC is not open and the symptoms are severe enough, the individual should go to the VUMC emergency department.

An individual awaiting test results must remain at home off campus in quarantine and keep their department chair/supervisor/mentor/lead researcher informed of their return-to-campus status.

If an individual believes they have contracted COVID-19 after exposure to a known COVID-19 positive person on campus and/or while performing job duties, OHC may direct the individual to complete a First Report of Work Injury or Illness.

ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING

Members of the Vanderbilt community, including staff who are authorized to be on campus and are engaged in on-campus, in-person activities, during the summer of 2021 may be included in the institution’s COVID-19 periodic on-campus testing program. This includes staff who are coming to campus with regularity, which is defined as three days a week or more, and who interact regularly with students, faculty and/or staff as part of their on-campus activities. Staff in the testing program will be tested on a monthly basis, with 25 percent of the identified staff population tested each week. Testing will occur at the Testing Center in the David R. Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center. Staff can walk in to the Testing Center or elect to use a drive-thru testing mechanism established at the David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center.

Summer testing hours begin on May 17.  The testing center will be open:

  • Monday from 7am-3pm
  • Tuesday from 7am-1pm
  • Wednesday from 7am-1pm
  • Thursday from 7am-1pm

The testing center will be closed on Monday, May 31 for Memorial Day.

Staff who will be a part of the asymptomatic testing program will be notified by their school or department’s testing coordinator.

Staff in the asymptomatic program will be notified of their test results via the Safer Community app and email.  Staff who test negative should continue with their on campus duties and attend future testing per their testing coordinator’s instruction. Staff who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate, even if fully vaccinated, as directed until they are deemed to have recovered and are released to return to on-campus activities, including classes.  Staff may also receive an inconclusive test result. Inconclusive test results occur in about 1% of COVID-19 tests taken in an asymptomatic periodic testing program. An inconclusive test typically means that a very small amount of viral DNA is present but not enough to test positive. Staff will be asked to retest as soon as possible at the testing center. The retest should show whether individuals were just exposed and mounted a minor viral response that does not develop into full blown infection, resulting in a negative retest result, or whether the original test caught the beginning of the infectious cycle and an increased viral load will be present at the retest resulting in a positive retest result. Directions will come from the Command Center on the proper procedures to take.

Staff should download the Safer Community app before visiting the testing center for the first time.

Learn more about the Safer Community app, the official COVID-19 testing app for Vanderbilt University.

ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING EXEMPTIONS

Staff who have been vaccinated will no longer need to participate in the testing program beginning two weeks after their vaccination is complete (either two weeks after the second dose for two-dose vaccines or two weeks after the single dose for single dose versions.  The vaccinated person will be exempt from testing beginning from the two week mark, ONLY, if the person submits their vaccination records to the Public Health Command Center.  To submit the vaccination record, please visit the following link. A picture or screenshot of the vaccination card, documentation, or an online medical record showing the dates of the vaccine doses will be needed. Email the Command Center at commandcenter@vanderbilt.edu if any problems are encountered submitting vaccination information to the system.

Staff who have been previously COVID-19 positive: per CDC guidelines you should not partake in COVID-19 testing for 90 days after the date of your test. Please complete the testing exemption form and upload relevant documentation, which will go to the medical professionals in the Public Health Command Center for review. Acceptable documentation to upload would be confirmation of a COVID-19 test in the last 90 days that includes your name, test date and the medical facility that provided the test. Antibody tests are not accepted. Those who tested positive through on-campus asymptomatic testing or symptomatic testing at Student Health do not need to complete the form, as they are already in the university’s system.

If you need to seek a medical exemption for testing, contact Equal Employment Opportunity and Access.

ASYMPTOMATIC CLOSE CONTACTS

The university has also updated its approach to testing of asymptomatic close contacts. Per both VU Return to Campus protocol and CDC guidance, a close contact is defined as any individual who was within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic persons, two days prior to positive test collection) until the time the person is isolated.

If an individual is identified as an asymptomatic close contact, they will now quarantine for a 10-day period. This has been updated from the previous 14-day quarantine period, per CDC guidance, but comes with additional requirements for days 10 to 14.

When the 10-day quarantine period ends, for days 10 to 14 after last exposure, Vanderbilt community members identified as close contacts must not unmask at any time in public, including in dining locations, and must wear their mask even in the presence of those in their residence. Individuals should eat alone or complete any activities alone that require removing a mask in a private space during those four days.

Individuals who have been vaccinated will no longer need to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact and their last exposure to a positive person was later than two weeks after their vaccination (the second of two doses for two-dose vaccines, or the single dose for one-dose vaccines) is complete.  The vaccinated person will be exempt from quarantine from the two week mark, ONLY, if they submit their vaccination records to the Public Health Command Center.  To submit the vaccination record, please visit the following link. A picture or screenshot of the vaccination card, documentation, or an online medical record showing the dates of the vaccine doses will be needed. Email the Command Center at commandcenter@vanderbilt.edu if any problems are encountered submitting vaccination information to the system.

If asymptomatic close contacts develop symptoms, they should contact Occupational Health.

POSITIVE CASE AND RECOVERY

Staff who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate at home* and follow current CDC guidance. To help determine the risk of potential exposure to co-workers and others on campus, as part of the Vanderbilt Public Health Central Command Center, Occupational Health will conduct contact tracing with the individual who has tested positive. Those individuals determined to be a potential close contact will be given the name of the individual who tested positive so that their risk can be further assessed. Occupational Health may contact the supervisor/mentor/department chair if further contact tracing information for the COVID-19 positive individual is needed; however, the actual test result (and any other protected health information) will not be disclosed. For more information on contact tracing, please visit the contact tracing page.

Vanderbilt is following CDC’s recommended recovery strategy. If an individual had symptoms and a positive COVID-19 test, recovery status (and clearance to return to campus/work) is assigned when: 1) the individual remains fever free without the use of fever reducers for 24 hours, 2) symptoms have improved, and 3) it has been at least 10 days since their symptoms first appeared. If the individual tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms, the individual can be cleared to return to campus 10 days after the test as long as the individual does not develop symptoms. If the individual develops symptoms, then the individual must follow the recovery strategy for those with symptoms. Notification for return to on-campus activities is directed through Occupational Health.

COVID-19 SCENARIOS FOR STAFF

I HAVE SYMPTOMS

STAY HOME: Notify Occupational Health Center (OHC) for assessment and testing. Notify supervisor, department chair and/or lead researcher.

PAUSE: Stay off-campus and quarantine while awaiting test result.

ALL CLEAR: My test is negative so I can return to campus as long as I am not a close contact.

I HAVE A COVID-19 POSITIVE TEST RESULT

STAY HOME: Notify OHC and fill out Public Health Central Command Center (Command Center) webform on the Return to Campus website. Notify supervisor, department chair and/or lead researcher. Complete contact tracing with OHC as soon as possible.

PAUSE: Remain off-campus for isolation period, usually 10 days but length can vary.

ALL CLEAR: I completed isolation and can return to campus when released by OHC.

I AM A CLOSE CONTACT

STAY HOME: Complete Command Center webform on the Return to Campus website. Notify department chair and/or lead researcher.

PAUSE: Remain off campus for quarantine period, usually 14 days after last contact but length can vary.

ALL CLEAR: I completed quarantine and can return to campus when released by OHC or Command Center as applicable.

More information about our testing vendor can be found on this FAQ.