October 21, 2020
Dear students, staff, and faculty,
In reflecting on the response to cases of COVID-19 identified on campus so far this year, we wanted to take a moment to share more information on our case investigation and contact tracing processes.
When a new COVID-19 case is identified in a Reed community member, we have two important jobs: to support the individual with the positive test result and to prevent further spread of the virus. When alerted that a Reed student, faculty, or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, a representative from Human Resources (staff/faculty) or Health and Counseling Services (students) will contact the person to share the positive test result and arrange for safe isolation, either at home or in MacNaughton, Reed's dedicated isolation residence hall.
At that point, our public health coordinator, Madison Riethman, or Medical Services Director, Timothie Rochon, will reach out to initiate contact tracing and offer support; for students, this includes an introduction to Jess Montecalvo, Reed's dedicated Isolation and Quarantine Support Coordinator.
During the contact tracing process, the investigator works with the individual to identify the who, what, when, and where of the activities they participated in while contagious. By assessing these findings along with federal, state, and local guidance, a comprehensive list of potential exposures is developed. In situations where the level of potential exposure is unclear, investigators will pursue additional information. In the case where a student has tested positive and attended an in-person class, the investigator will contact the faculty member teaching that class to engage their help in assessing the potential risks during the time in question. Depending on the diagnosed individual's activities, the investigator may also reach out to other knowledgeable contacts, including workplace supervisors, event coordinators, or other gathering or activity participants. While details on the exposure situation may be shared as part of this process, due to confidentiality and privacy constraints we can not disclose any potentially identifiable information about the person who tested positive for COVID-19.
The goal of these conversations is to quickly identify and reach out to all individuals who were in contact with the diagnosed individual, in order to alert them to their potential exposure and place them on home quarantine. If a contact is symptomatic, they are immediately referred for COVID-19 evaluation by a healthcare provider and placed in isolation.
While contacts placed on quarantine are not symptomatic at the time of notification, exposed individuals can become contagious with COVID-19 anytime between two and 14 days following an exposure. To ensure these now high risk individuals don't have contact with others while unknowingly contagious, we instruct them to quarantine for 14 days. During this time, the person on quarantine should avoid any in-person interactions with others. A contact may opt to receive a COVID-19 test during their quarantine period, but a negative test does not release someone from quarantine early, as they could still develop COVID-19 in the time between the test and the end of the 14 days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Oregon Health Authority have further guidance on quarantine and isolation available online for those who would like to learn more.
As part of the investigation and response process, Reed's Environmental Health and Safety office and Facility Services are promptly engaged to conduct enhanced cleaning practices in any spaces where exposure may have occurred. Additionally, all identified cases are reported in a timely manner, generally within a few hours of Reed learning about the case, on the Reed COVID-19 Case Notifications and Reporting webpage.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to the COVID Risk Assessment Group at email@example.com.
Madison Riethman, MPH, CPH
COVID-19 Response Coordinator and Health Project Manager
Sent of behalf of the COVID-19 Risk Assessment Group