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How do I know if I have been exposed to someone in the Tufts community who tested positive for COVID-19?

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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 either the onset of symptoms through illness or the positive test, whichever is earlier. Tufts’ contact tracers or a public agency contact tracer will then reach out to all individuals who have been exposed to a known-positive individual with instructions.

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. More information about exposure and close contacts is available in the Testing at Tufts resource: https://coronavirus.tufts.edu/contact-tracing-quarantine.

Last update: Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021 - 10:17pm

How is “close contact” defined?

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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.

Last update: Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021 - 3:56pm

These FAQs are subject to change. Please check back here for the latest guidance. If you do not  find the information you are looking for, please send an email to COVID19@tufts.edu.