Addressing exposure and illness
On this page:
- University plans for addressing exposure
- University processes for positive tests, illnesses
The university’s trained public health experts will actively work with health departments to track and trace illnesses and exposures. CSU Public Health receive training on and follow Centers for Disease Control requirements and best practices for contact tracing and addressing potential exposure.
Through the process of contact tracing, individuals will be alerted by public health officials when someone who is ill has had contact with others who live, learn, teach or work on a CSU campus. These officials will rapidly track the ill person’s activities and contact with others, and provide education about self isolation, quarantining and preventative measures.
Click on the guide to the right for faculty and staff guidance to addressing reports of COVID-19.
All faculty and instructors will design their courses so that the courses can be taught online or through technology if the instructor becomes ill or is exposed and can or should not provide in-person instruction for a duration of time. In addition, all courses will be designed to be flexible and adaptive to changing public health guidelines and orders, including a return to virtual learning.
CSU process for COVID-19 cases associated with a campus
CSU will be notified of students or employees who experience symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 through:
- Shared information among doctors who administer tests and county and university public health offices.
- Doctors are required to report positive cases to county health departments. These departments share information across counties and states as needed
- CSU shares software and information with Larimer County Department of Public Health.
- Anyone who works at CSU or goes to classes on campus would be “flagged” for notification to CSU’s public health office
- Data from free county-based testing sites is also shared in a similar matter
- The daily symptom checker – any student, faculty or staff who is experiencing symptoms or knows or believes they have been exposed to COVID-19 should report it online https://covidrecovery.colostate.edu/daily-symptom-checker/. This information is reported to CSU’s public health office
Contact tracing is used by health departments to prevent the spread of any infectious virus or disease, including COVID-19. CSU follows all Centers for Disease control processes, best practices and requirements for effective contact tracing. (See information about contact tracing on the CDC website)
Trained public health employees identify and speak directly to people who:
- Have COVID-19 or may have COVID-19
- Believe they came in contact with someone with COVID-19
Individuals who will be asked to self-isolate or quarantine are:
- Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19
- Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms
- Anyone who is determined by public health experts as a close contact of an infected person
They do not reveal the name of the COVID-19 patient to others. Positive test results are confidential medical information.
- Close contacts are defined as those who have had 10-15 minutes of contact with a sick person without following public health guidance
As part of the contact tracing process, public health officials help the patient remember everyone they had a close contact with during the time they could be spreading the virus to others. They do this through a series of questions and conversations.
Public health staff begin to contact those who are at risk of potential exposure based on a definition of close contact through contact tracing investigations. Those who have had close contact – as defined by the CDC – with someone with COVID-19 have a need to know about their exposure.
If you are not identified as a close contact, you are generally not at risk.
The university follows specific criteria for notifying individuals who may be exposed to COVID-19, per standard and recognized procedures followed across the county, state and nation by public health officials addressing COVID-19.
If you do not meet the criteria of a close contact of someone who has COVID-19, you are not notified, even if you have been in the same space as someone who has COVID-19. Being in the same building – or even the same room — as someone who has COVID-19 alone does not necessarily make you at risk of contracting the virus.
The university notifies the state and county of positive cases physically associated with a campus, according to pubic health requirements.
The best ways to protect yourself from COVID-19 are to follow public health guidance. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, wear a mask, avoid touching your face, practice physical distancing and avoid gatherings with other people (more than ten people).
Supervisors or instructors do not need to do anything other than cooperate with contact tracing.
Employees who report symptoms or exposure via the symptom checker will be connected to CSU public health officials.
Supervisors should not pressure employees to report to work if the employee has been exposed, tests positive or has symptoms.
Supervisors should protect the confidentiality of their employee’s private medical information has reported information through the symptom checker; they should not alert their staff or colleagues – public health officials will contact those who need to know. Supervisors may follow up with CSU’s public health office to provide information about concerns.
Employees who report symptoms to their physician or who test positive through testing sites will be connected with public health officials through the county.
You are not expected to take any action, other than to help public health officials contact trace others in your class if needed.
It is okay to share any reports of illness or symptoms with the CSU public health office, if you believe they may not be aware of the student’s situation. Do not fill out the symptom checker for the student. Otherwise, please protect their private medical information.
The student has been advised to contact instructors, if they are able. Students do not have to tell their instructors that they have or suspect they have COVID-19; they can share that they are out for general health reasons.
Student Case Management is alerted by CSU Public Health and provides support to these students.
Public health will notify an instructor only if there are concerns about contact tracing.
Continue to remind students in your class follow public health orders: wear a mask, disinfect their desk or table and chairs and other shared equipment, and maintain physical distancing.
Facilities Management is already providing extra disinfecting of spaces on campuses, and faculty, staff and students are asked to also disinfect their spaces.
Under limited circumstances, public health may schedule a special cleaning for a space if there are a significant number of cases associated with it and it is believed that daily disinfecting by Facilities Management and employees and students has not been adequate.
Public health experts advise that transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 by sharing spaces — but not being in close contact — is not highly likely.
Cases of COVID-19 are no longer unusual in any community. Members of our university community have tested positive or experienced symptoms since the pandemic began last winter.
Through robust coordinating among community and university public health officials, and our contact tracing capacity, CSU public health officials notify those who need to know because they may have been exposed.
The Pandemic Preparedness Team is looking at creating a public dashboard to share basic information about positive cases associated with our university as we enter into the fall semester.
When two or more cases associated with each other are reported to CSU, the state is notified in accordance to their requirements, and that data may appear on the state’s website.
In a situation where a specific space appears to be associated with a “hot spot” of transmission of multiple cases, the university will work with county public health experts to evaluate next steps based on a number of factors, such as the kind of space, the number of people in and out of the space and the nature of the case spread. In those situations, a space may be shut down for disinfecting for a short period of time, and a mass notification may be shared.
Please see this plan from Housing & Dining Services.