Contact Tracing

Proper Surveillance and contact tracing require concerted efforts from various people to ensure that all contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 faculty, staff or student are identified and closely monitored to be able to curtail the spread of COVID-19 throughout the Touro University California campus. This activity involves a team charged with managing the information related to known contacts, monitoring regularly for a period of not less than 14 days post diagnosis. This is an intensive activity that requires cooperation from the TUC community, otherwise we won’t be able to achieve the objective. TUC relies on employee and student assumption of self-responsibility for their health and the health of the TUC community.

Purpose

This Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) describes the structure, procedures and processes of an effective and efficient contact tracing system. The SOP provides standard guidance for those engaged in contact tracing and surveillance activities.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is an integral component of the overall strategy for controlling an outbreak of COVID-19 on TUC campus. Contact tracing is used by health departments to prevent the spread of infectious disease. In general, contact tracing involves identifying people who have an infectious disease (cases) and their contacts (people who may have been exposed) and working with them to interrupt disease transmission. For COVID-19, this includes asking cases to isolate and contacts to quarantine at home voluntarily. Generally, contact tracing includes the following steps:

  • Case investigation: Public health staff work with a patient to help them recall everyone with whom they have had close contact during the time when they may have been infectious.
  • Contact tracing: Public health staff begin contact tracing by notifying exposed individuals (contacts) of their potential exposure as rapidly and sensitively as possible, not revealing the infected patient’s identity.
  • Contact support: Contacts are provided with education, information, and support to help them understand their risk, what they should do to separate themselves from others who are not exposed, and how to monitor themselves for illness. In addition, they are informed of the possibility that they could spread the infection to others even if they do not feel ill.
  • Self-quarantine: Contacts are encouraged to stay home, monitor their health, and maintain social distance (at least 6 feet) from others until 14 days after their last exposure to the infected patient, in case they also become ill.

Contacts must be systematically identified and monitored closely for 14 days following exposure. Prompt identification and self-imposed quarantine are critical to interrupting the transmission of COVID-19 on the TUC campus and within the TUC community in addition to faced covering, social distancing and increased cleaning and disinfection.

TUC will protect all information and share only when appropriate for public health considerations. The collection of information is to meet the obligations of TUC’s responsibility to report exposures to CDC, California Department of Public Health, Solano County Dept. of Public Health, etc. Information collected will be used in no other way nor considered in any manner or shared other than as a public health reporting obligation during pandemic.

Definitions

TUC is defining a “new normal” with a hybrid academic semester in which the only on campus learning experiences will be those that are deemed “essential laboratory learning.” A mandatory COVID-19 surveillance testing program will be implemented for any student, staff, or faculty member that will be physically present on campus. Failure to participate in the surveillance testing program will result in campus access being revoked until a negative COVD-19 test is presented. Throughout the Spring 2021 semester, safety is prioritized and mitigation measures are enacted allowing for restarting of essential laboratory learning.

Contact: Defined as anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the patient was isolated.

High Risk: COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Based on current knowledge CDC defines those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 as people who:

  • Are aged 65 years and older
  • Live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • Are of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    • - Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthmaSerious heart conditions
    • - Serious heart conditions
    • - Immunocompromised (including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications)
    • - Severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] ≥40)
    • - DiabetesChronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
    • - Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysisLiver disease
    • - Liver disease

Suspect case: Any person, who presents with signs and symptoms common for COVID-19 but is not yet confirmed through laboratory investigations.

Roles and Responsibilities

There are several roles played during the course of contact tracing and these roles should be played by different personnel. The various people involved include the following:

Contact Tracing Managers: Faculty and staff contact information will be maintained by Kathy Lowe, Human Resources; student contact information will be maintained by Judith Corte, Student Health Services.

TUC COVID Advisory Group: Multidisciplinary team consisting of Health Surveillance Officers, BioSafety Officer, Institutional Officer and ad hoc members. The group collects and evaluates suspected and known case information to provide concise multidisciplinary consensus direction to Contact Tracing Managers and others as appropriate. The group serves as the center of expertise for TUC’s COVID program as well as the repository for administrative level reporting.

Health Surveillance Officers: Healthcare providers given their clinical knowledge, help identify ill contacts as well as identifying physical locations that need attention. They engage in supportive supervision with leaders and contact tracing managers to improve the quality of tracing and interrupt transmission through rapid identification of suspected cases and respond to alerts, conduct suspect case investigation, initiate quarantine, and work with contact tracing managers to follow up with contacts. These officers also work together with the contact tracing managers in their respective areas to monitor contact tracing efforts.

Biosafety Officer: The TUC Biosafety Officer will be responsible for overall program administration and oversight of health surveillance and contact tracing activities.

Self-Reporting Process: Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to self-report potential or known exposure to persons with COVID-19, any signs or symptoms of infection with COVID-19.

TUC Self-Attestation Policy: It is imperative that faculty, staff, student and campus visitors take measures to protect themselves and the TUC community from transmission of COVID-19. To ensure all are mindful it is urged that all read the self-attestation form prior to visiting campus and defer from visits when there is any question of potential infection with or exposure to COVID-19.

Standard Operating Procedures

Employee Responsibility

Faculty and Staff (Employees) who suspect, are known to have been exposed to, diagnosed with COVID-19 or been placed on a surveillance tracer for COVID-19 will report directly to Human Resources by calling 707-638-5806 or sending an email to kathy.lowe@tu.edu as soon as possible for an interview. Employees do not have to notify supervisor first. Self-quarantine should be initiated on first knowledge of potential or known exposure. Employees will be monitored and directed on next steps by Human Resources

Student Responsibility

Students who suspect, are known to have been exposed to, diagnosed with COVID-19 or been placed on a surveillance tracer for COVID-19 will report directly to Student Health Center by calling 707-638-5220 or sending an email to judith.corte@tu.edu as soon as possible for an interview. Self-quarantine should be initiated on first knowledge of potential or known exposure. Students will be monitored and directed on next steps by Student Health Center

Human Resources Procedure

  • Obtain all contact information possible using TUC COVID-19 interview form.
  • Input information onto TUC COVID Tracker on secured database.
  • Inform TUC COVID Tracking Group for case management.
  • Act as primary POC between employee and TUC COVID Advisory Group.
  • Provide EAP information for counseling.
  • Monitor employee status by requesting employees provide updates as appropriate.
  • Provide information to public health authorities upon request or suspected outbreak through the TUC COVID Advisory Group.
  • Update TUC Tracking Group as appropriate allowing for case management.

Student Health Center Procedure

  • Obtain all contact information possible using TUC COVID-19 interview form.
  • Input information onto TUC COVID Tracker on secured database.
  • Inform TUC COVID Advisory Group for case management.
  • Act as primary POC between Student and TUC COVID Advisory Group.
  • Provide information for counseling.
  • Monitor employee status by requesting students provide updates as appropriate.
  • Provide information to public health authorities upon request or suspected outbreak.
  • Update TUC COVID Advisory Group as appropriate allowing for case management.

TUC COVID Advisory Group Procedure

  • Collect, organize and evaluate incoming data as a team.
  • Utilize Multidisciplinary team and consensus approach identify best course of action to minimize the spread and effect of COVID on TUC campus.
  • Advise Human Resources and Student Health Center on appropriate actions, information and resources to provide active and suspected cases.Document decision making efforts for future reference and provision to public health upon request.
  • Document decision making efforts for future reference and provision to public health upon request.
  • Inform and recommend course of action to ALT in the event of outbreak or other concerning situations.