Contact tracing focuses on close contacts while a positive patient was infectious. The infectious period begins 48 hours before the patient’s symptoms began. If the person with COVID-19 never developed symptoms, the infectious period begins the 48 hours before the positive test was collected. A person is considered a close contact if they have been within 6 feet of the patient for at least 15 minutes. If a person is thought to be a close contact, then a contact tracer will give them a call. If the exposure wasn’t within 6 feet, if it didn’t last 15 minutes or more, or if it occurred before the infectious period, that person would not be considered a close contact and will not receive a phone call from a contact tracer.
Ms. Jodie Hightower, assistant to the chancellor, will serve as the liaison between UACCB and the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Division of Higher Education regarding contact tracing.
If you have had close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19, you will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. A quarantine of 14 days is needed because you may develop COVID-19 anytime during the virus’s incubation period, which is 14 days. If you work in a critical infrastructure job, it may be possible for you to still work while under quarantine. The Arkansas Department of Health will coordinate such arrangements with your employer.
In addition, you will be encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible – in case you already have COVID-19 but don’t have any symptoms yet. You will still be required to complete the 14 days of quarantine, even if your test comes back negative, because you could still develop the illness later in the quarantine period.
Case investigators reach out to COVID-19 patients shortly after a positive test result is confirmed in order to learn about the patient’s close contacts. The contact tracer then calls each of the close contacts to inform them about their exposure to COVID-19 and give them instructions about how to quarantine. The goal is to reach the close contacts within a day or two after the positive test result is received. Sometimes it takes longer. You might not hear from a contact tracer if the exposure you had was not enough to put you at increased risk of COVID-19 transmission.
If a student reports to a faculty or staff member that they have tested positive for COVID-19, the faculty or staff member should email Ms. Hightower to notify her that the student has reported they have tested positive for COVID-19. Ms. Hightower will provide the information to ADH so the contact tracing process can be initiated. The student should be sent home, instructed to self-isolate, and await a phone call from a contact tracer. Ms. Hightower will also be in contact with the student to gather information and provide additional information about quarantine and isolation.
Students will be looking to faculty and staff for support and guidance during this uncertain time. Remember to set the standard by:
Modeling a Simple Kindness (M.A.S.K) and wearing your face covering that covers your nose and mouth
Practicing good hygiene with hand washing and utilizing the sanitizing stations on campus
Maintaining a social distance of at least 6 feet whenever possible
Assistant to the Chancellor