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Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 either through Tufts University’s routine surveillance testing or elsewhere is expected to participate fully in the contact tracing process and identification of close contacts. Per state guidance, each close contact must be cleared by a medical professional to return to classes or to work.

During contact tracing, the individual that tested positive will remain anonymous. Close contacts will be notified and given next step instructions, but will not be given any identifying information, such as the positive individual’s name.

The purpose of contact tracing is to identify and notify in a timely manner close contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19 and to educate those contacts on quarantine instructions, symptom monitoring, and steps to take if they become symptomatic. When an individual who is participating in the university’s testing program receives a positive test result, that result initiates the university’s contact tracing process.

Tufts has contracted with Jumbo Health Center to serve as the university’s notification team for contact tracing. When the university receives a report of a positive test for an employee or student, Tufts will notify Jumbo Health Center, which will then contact the individual to confirm the diagnosis, ask the date of the onset of symptoms, and help the individual gather a list of all close contacts starting 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms through illness. Tufts’ contact tracers or a public agency contact tracer will reach out to all individuals who have been exposed to a known-positive individual.


Close Contact Definition

Congruent with updated state and CDC definition of a close contact of a COVID-19 case, a close contact is defined as someone who:

  • Is within six feet of a positive COVID-19 person/case for 15 minutes or more while indoors over the course of a 24-hour period, starting two days before the onset of illness and while the case is symptomatic; or
  • Is within six feet of a positive COVID-19 person/case for 15 minutes or more while indoors during the 48 hours before their test was taken or anytime in the 10 days after the test; or
  • Provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19; or
  • Had direct physical contact with (touched, hugged, or kissed) a positive COVID-19 person; or
  • Shared food, or eating or drinking utensils with a positive COVID-19 person; or
  • Was sneezed or coughed on by a positive COVID-19 person, transmitting respiratory droplets to them.

In all cases, the decision to quarantine is a clinical decision made by a Tufts clinician in collaboration with the university’s contract tracing team and the local boards of health. Any student, faculty, or staff member instructed to quarantine is expected to fully cooperate with the contact tracing process and strictly adhere to all instructions.

If you are symptomatic, have tested positive or are concerned that you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should contact the Jumbo Health Center at jumbohealthcenter@marathon-health.com or 617-627-0467 or your primary care doctor and follow their guidance.


Close Contact Quarantine Policy

Vaccinated close contacts of a COVID-19 case will not be required to quarantine; however, they must participate fully in the contact tracing process and monitor themselves for symptoms of infection. Those identified as close contacts by Tufts contact tracers will be instructed on who to contact if symptoms develop.

Unvaccinated close contacts of a COVID-19 case must quarantine. Unvaccinated close contacts will be tested on day 6 or 7 after the exposure and released from quarantine on day 8, if negative.

Since the incubation period of COVID-19 may be up to 14 days in some individuals, people released from quarantine on day 8 must actively monitor themselves for any symptoms of COVID-19 take their temperature once a day for another 6 days. If even mild symptoms develop or the individual has a temperature of 100.0 F, they must immediately self-isolate. Students should contact Tufts Health Service at (617) 627-3350 and employees should contact the Jumbo Health Center at jumbohealthcenter@marathon-health.com or (617) 627-0467.

For more information on self-quarantining for Tufts undergraduate students living on- or off-campus, visit: http://go.tufts.edu/quarantine.


Symptomatic and exposure-based testing

  • Students who develop symptoms and need to be tested for symptomatic reasons should contact Health Services at 617-627-3350 to make an appointment.
  • Employees who develop symptoms should contact the Jumbo Health Center at jumbohealthcenter@marathon-health.com or 617-627-0467 or their primary care physician for guidance.
  • Please do not walk into either Health Services or the Jumbo Heath Center without an appointment. If either the Jumbo Health Center or Health Services determines that the individual needs to be tested, an appointment will be set up at the location for symptomatic testing. The locations for symptomatic testing will be separate from the testing site for routine surveillance testing. Please do not enter one of the routine surveillance testing sites without an appointment.

Call the Boston Testing Center at 617-636-3686 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, to discuss your symptoms and next steps with a clinician. In some cases, the clinician may decide it is best for you to be seen in a clinic at Tufts Medical Center or they might decide you should be seen at the testing center for a COVID-19 test. If you need emergency care, call 911 or go to your local emergency room. The testing center is not open on the weekends. For non-emergency situations, you should call your primary care provider’s office to discuss options.

Symptomatic testing is not available on the Grafton campus. Please leave or do not come to the campus if you are sick.