University Health Services: Update to Isolation Processes & Receiving COVID Test Results

Jan. 13, 2022

On January 13, University Health Services emailed all employees the following:

Dear colleagues,

We write to you today with important updates related to getting your COVID test results, what to do if you receive a positive result, and changes to isolation and contact tracing protocols as we continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the NJ Department of Health.

Those who are currently working remote to reduce the strain on the asymptomatic testing program should continue doing so and confirm that they submitted a testing absence for the time they are working off campus.

TESTING RESULTS

Due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, we anticipate an increased number of positive test results as students return to campus.  It is thus likely that your results will be available through the TigerSafe app before Global and Community Health (GCH) at UHS is able to notify you via email that you tested positive. We know this is a change from the past year and a half, but we can assure you that everyone who tests positive will receive an email from UHS with additional guidance.

As you may not get a phone call if your results are positive, we’re asking you to start a new habit to support the health and well-being of yours and those around you: please proactively check your test results via the TigerSafe app or directly through the web portal. Don’t wait for a phone call.

Guidance on how to locate your results in the TigerSafe app may be found on the COVID Resources site. Results are typically posted at least twice a day, at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

IF YOU GET A POSITIVE RESULT FROM THE ASYMPTOMATIC TESTING PROGRAM

If you receive a positive result by checking the TigerSafe app or web portal, please follow these instructions closely:

  • If you receive your result while you are still at home:
    • Do not go to work.
    • Contact your supervisor as soon as possible to alert them that you will be on a medically-supported absence or that you are isolating with COVID. 
  • If you receive your result while at work:
    • Let your supervisor know that you will need to leave for a medically-supported absence or that you have tested positive for COVID and head home right away.
    • If you will be taking public transportation to reach your home, make sure to double-mask and do not sit or stand within 6 feet of others.

IF YOU GET A POSITIVE RESULT FROM OFF-CAMPUS TESTING

If you receive a positive result outside of the asymptomatic testing program, please email GCH with proof of your positive test result at communityhealth@princeton.edu. UHS will be in touch with next steps. Please be patient as GCH is managing a high volume of emails at this time.

FOR ANY EMPLOYEE WHO TESTS POSITIVE

  • Start refreshing your memory of those with whom you were in close contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes over 24 hours) in the 2 days prior to when you submitted your positive test.
  • A negative test following a positive test does not exempt a person from isolation. DO NOT submit another sample to the asymptomatic testing program to “double check” your results. The testing program is already reaching capacity and duplicate samples slow down the system.
  • Consult the UHS site for guidance about how to care for yourself or someone in your household who is sick with COVID. The CDC site also has helpful guidance.
  • During your isolation period:
    • You cannot be on campus.
    • UHS will send an email to your supervisor confirming that you are on a medically-supported leave.
    • If you are having symptoms, please contact your primary medical provider.
    • If you live with someone who is not vaccinated and you cannot remain sequestered from them during your isolation period, your unvaccinated household contact will need to quarantine for 10 days following the day you clear isolation.
    • Princeton’s Global and Community Health Team may contact you sometime over the next 72 hours, so please keep your cell phone on and with you during this time. 
    • Make sure to complete the Symptom Check you receive by email or text, as this may impact your release from isolation and return to campus. 

If you receive a positive result, you will not need to test again in the asymptomatic testing program for 90 days from the date of your positive diagnosis.

ISOLATION

If fully vaccinated, the duration of isolation may be as short as 5 days (day 0 is the date the test was collected).

  • Release from isolation will occur on day 6 if the individual is asymptomatic, if symptoms are resolving, and if they are fever-free for at least 24 hours. 
  • You will receive an email from Global and Community Health at UHS that you are clear to stop isolation. Do not come back to campus until you receive this email.
  • On day 6 through 10, individuals released from isolation must wear a tight-fitting face covering whenever they are around other people, both at home and at work. This means that you are not able to eat and drink around others on campus during these days, as that would require removal of your face covering.

Vaccinated individuals experiencing persistent symptoms or fever will not be released on day 6. UHS will determine the date of release based on their condition.  No matter when the person is released, they must wear a tight-fitting mask when around other people, including roommates, through day 10.

Unvaccinated individuals will be required to isolate for 10 days.

You do not need a negative test to return to work after isolation if you received a positive result either on- or off-campus.

COVID-19 paid time off options are available to support this time away from work as necessary. University staff may also contact their senior HR manager or HR Benefits with questions regarding their time off during isolation.

It is each employee’s personal responsibility to follow these rules for isolation, especially wearing a face covering after being released from isolation. Failure to do so is a serious violation of the Communicable Disease Policy.

CONTACT TRACING

As the Omicron variant spreads, its shorter incubation period makes contact tracing less effective as a mitigation strategy, especially as many vaccinated people experience very mild symptoms.

Following guidance from the NJ Department of Health and the Princeton Health Department, UHS is prioritizing contact tracing for populations that are at the highest risk of transmission on campus: students and service personnel.

Since you may not be contacted by a contact tracer, we encourage anyone who receives a positive test result to proactively alert those they have been in close contact with in the past 2 days that they are positive for COVID. More guidance about what your close contacts should do is on the COVID website under “Information for your Close Contacts”.

If you have questions about the asymptomatic testing program or public health guidance in general, please contact covidtests@princeton.edu or call the COVID Connector at all 609-258-7000 M-F from 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Thank you in advance for doing your part to protect our campus community. We are grateful for your continued conscientiousness.

University Health Services

https://covid.princeton.edu/testing