LATEST UPDATES ON FALL 2021 PLANNING, VACCINES, COVID-19 TESTING AND MORE LATEST UPDATES ON FALL 2021 PLANNING, VACCINES, COVID-19 TESTING AND MORE
MSU Denver

Updated Sept. 3, 2021

COVID-19 Testing and Protocols for Reporting Positive COVID-19 Cases in Classrooms and/or Office Settings 

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As the current COVID-19 pandemic continues, this communication is designed to address several factors for MSU Denver faculty and staff teaching in classrooms or working in office settings. Our goal is to ensure that all faculty and staff are aware of how the Health Center at Auraria (HCA) responds to positive cases of COVID-19.

Due to the changing nature of COVID-19 guidance and the ongoing development of new medical insights, it is essential that questions regarding COVID-19 exposure and symptoms be directed to the HCA (303-615-9999).

Faculty, staff and students should err on the side of sharing information with the medical team at the HCA. All faculty, staff and students are to call the HCA if they receive a positive COVID-19 lab result, regardless of where the test was performed and whether or not they were physically present on campus.

If a student or employee receives a positive COVID-19 lab result, they should notify their advisor or supervisor and the HCA immediately.

1. When a positive case of COVID-19 is reported to the Health Center, what process ensues to determine the risk level to others?

When the HCA is informed of a positive case of COVID-19, the Health Center Medical Director and his clinical team conduct an investigation in accordance with current guidelines established by the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE).

This starts by interviewing the positive individual to determine key dates, including when symptoms began, when positive lab results were received and specific locations where a close contact on campus may have occurred.

In addition, a list of unvaccinated contacts is compiled in one of two ways.

  • For positive cases that occur in the classroom the class seating chart will be utilized when possible to determine “close contacts”. Then the close contacts will be matched to the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) data base by the Health Center to determine which close contacts do not appear as vaccinated for COVID-19. Unvaccinated close contacts will be called directly by the Health Center’s Medical Director and advised of next steps, including quarantine requirements.
  • For positive cases that occur in a campus office, the departmental supervisor is to immediately (within an hour of becoming aware of a positive case, if possible) inform the Health Center’s Medical Director of all employees in the impacted department who are not vaccinated. When possible, close contacts will be identified. The supervisors need to provide the name, campus ID number, email address and phone number for each unvaccinated employee. Unvaccinated employees will be called directly by the Health Center’s Medical Director and advised of next steps.

2. If a supervisor, faculty or staff member is informed that a student or co-worker in their department has tested positive for COVID-19, what should they do?

They should call the HCA at 303-615-9999. The supervisor, faculty or staff member should inform the receptionist that they are reporting a positive case of COVID-19. The receptionist will ask for the following information: supervisor, faculty or staff’s name, cell phone number and department name. In addition, the name of the positive person, their cell phone number, their e-mail address. This information will be provided to Dr. Zorrilla or his designee, who will then begin the investigation.

Once the initial investigation is complete, the reporting supervisor, faculty or staff member will be called by the Medical Director or his designee to advise them of the “next steps”, contingent on the level of risk that the investigation determines.

It may take several days to complete an investigation and for the reporting supervisor to receive a return phone call. The HCA medical team is often triaging numerous COVID-19 related investigations and must wait to hear back from the positive person to accurately assess exposure risk. However, please know that reports of positive test results in on-campus environments are prioritized to be done ASAP.

During the call with the supervisor, faculty or staff member, “next steps” will be outlined. It will also be determined if it would be helpful for the doctor to attend (virtually or in-person) a classroom or office meeting. This can allow for discussion of the investigation, advise the class or department and to answer any questions. Please note that the name of the positive individual will not be disclosed.

3. What factors determine if exposure risk is classified as low or high?

a.) Length of time in close contact with a positive individual
b.) Interaction distance from the positive individual
c.) PPE (personal protective equipment) and other safety precautions utilized
d.) Onset date of symptoms
e.) Vaccination status of all those exposed

4. If the guidance in a specific case does not require the supervisor, faculty, staff member or student to be tested, but the supervisor, faculty, staff or student want to be tested anyway, what can they do?

Go to healthcenter1.com, click on “learn more” about COVID-19 and scroll down to the testing section where they will be able to register for testing. If you choose to get tested, do so 3-5 days after exposure if asymptomatic.

5. What is the current guidance on quarantine and isolation?

Current CDC guidance includes the following details:

Quarantine if you have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19, unless you have been fully vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. If you are vaccinated and develop symptoms, please contact the Health Center at Auraria for assessment.

Those unvaccinated will be advised of the duration of their quarantine period, which can vary according to their exposure risk.

Those in isolation (i.e., those who have tested positive for COVID-19) must remain in isolation for 10 days from the start of their symptoms. They may return to work/class on day 11 if they have been fever-free for 24 hours (without fever reducing medication) and their other symptoms are either resolved or improving.

However, each isolation case should be individually assessed, since it is certainly possible that additional time away from work/class may be needed before an individual should be permitted to return, contingent on current symptoms. i.e., someone who is still noticeably coughing on day 10 should not return to class/work, until the cough is under control.

6. Does the Health Center at Auraria do “asymptomatic testing” (testing individuals who do not have any symptoms of COVID-19)?

Yes, the HCA offers both symptomatic and asymptomatic testing. Go to healthcenter1.com, click on “learn more” about COVID-19. Scroll down to the testing section where you will be able to register for testing.

7. Does the Health Center at Auraria provide campus clearance letters for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19?

This is not routinely done. However, if an individual needs a clearance letter for a specific reason, they can simply call the HCA at 303-615-9999 and indicate to the receptionist why they are calling.

In closing, it is important to reiterate, that the University has directed all faculty, staff and students to inform the HCA if they receive a positive COVID-19 result, regardless of where the test was performed and regardless of whether or not they were physically present on campus. Call the HCA at 303-615-9999 to report all positive cases.