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OHIO COVID-19 Protocol: What to do if you test positive, experience symptoms, or are exposed to COVID-19

COVID Operations’ team of COVID Campus Liaisons is available by phone (740-566-8445) and email (COVIDoperations@ohio.edu) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and noon to 5 p.m. on weekends.

If you are experiencing acute symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, decreased awareness, difficulty staying awake, or bluish lips or face, call 911.

Positive

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, follow all of these steps: 

  1. Call OHIO COVID Operations at 1-740-566-8445 or complete a COVID-19 Incident Report form. An OHIO COVID Campus Liaison (CCL) will advise you on further steps. 
  2. Stay home and isolate for at least five days. Do not attend class or any other activities. You will get more details on how to isolate [PDF] when you speak with a CCL. If you have no symptoms after five days, your CCL will clear you to return to campus activities on day six, at which point you must wear a mask around others for five additional days.
  3. If you need medical assistance:  
    • Athens-campus based students: call Campus Care at 740-592-7169.
    • All other students, faculty, and staff: contact your primary care provider. If you don’t have a primary care provider, a CCL can advise you on options in your area. 
  4. Participate in automated text-based symptom monitoring, if invited. You will receive instructions via email and text. 

Symptomatic

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, follow all of these steps:

  1. Call OHIO COVID Operations at 1-740-566-8445 or complete a COVID-19 Incident Report form. An OHIO COVID Campus Liaison (CCL) will advise you on further steps. 
  2. Get tested. Contact a healthcare provider to arrange a test/provider visit: 
    • Athens-campus based students: call Campus Care at 740-592-7169. 
    • All other students, faculty, and staff: contact your primary care provider. If you don’t have a primary care provider, a CCL can advise you on options in your area. 
  3. Stay home and avoid others until you have spoken with a CCL. If necessary, you'll get more details on how to safely isolate [PDF] when you speak with a CCL. 
  4. If you need medical assistance:  
    • Athens-campus based students: call Campus Care at 740-592-7169.
    • All other students, faculty, and staff: contact your primary care provider. If you don’t have a primary care provider, a CCL can advise you on options in your area. 

Exposed

If you are exposed to COVID-19, follow all of these steps: 

Up-to-Date on COVID-19 Vaccines or Tested Positive in Past 90 Days

In accordance with recently updated CDC guidance, individuals who have a known exposure to COVID-19 and who:

  • Have been boosted 
    OR
  • Completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last 6 months
    OR
  • Completed the primary series of J&J vaccine within the last 2 months 
    OR
  • Had confirmed CVID-19 in the last 90 days (you tested positive using a viral test)

are required to:

  1. Call OHIO COVID Operations at 1-740-566-8445 or complete a COVID-19 Incident Report form. 
  2. Schedule and complete an asymptomatic test through Vault Health on day five post exposure. You'll get more details on how and when to test when you speak with a CCL.
  3. Wear a mask around others for at least 10 full days.
  4. Participate in automated text-based symptom monitoring. You will receive instructions via email and text.  
  5. Upload your vaccine card if you haven’t already, through the COVID-19 Testing Pathway Program
  6. Upload your booster record if you haven’t already: https://ohio.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_beZyfM68DKQ082W 

All Other Individuals 

In accordance with recently updated CDC guidance(opens in a new window), individuals who have a known exposure to COVID-19 and who:

  • Completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine over 6 months ago and are not boosted
    OR
  • Completed the primary series of J&J over 2 months ago and are not boosted
    OR
  • Are unvaccinated

are required to:

  1. Call OHIO COVID Operations at 1-740-566-8445 or complete a COVID-19 Incident Report form. An OHIO COVID Campus Liaison (CCL) will advise you on further steps. 
  2. Stay home and avoid others for at least five full days. You'll get more details on how to safely quarantine when you speak with a CCL. 
  3. Schedule and complete an asymptomatic test on day five post exposure. You'll get more details on how and when to test when you speak with a CCL. 
  4. Wear a mask around others for five additional days after your quarantine ends. 
  5. If you are experiencing symptoms or need medical assistance:
    • Athens-campus based students: call Campus Care at 740-592-7169.
    • All other students, faculty, and staff: contact your primary care provider. If you don’t have a primary care provider, a CCL can advise you on options in your area. 

If you have any COVID-related questions, contact COVID Operations at 1-740-566-8445 or COVIDoperations@ohio.edu

Details on COVID-19 Exposure and Quarantine 

Individuals should quarantine if they have been exposed to COVID-19 (i.e., in close contact with someone who has COVID-19). Close contact is defined as less than six feet away from an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals who are up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, in addition to those who have had confirmed COVID-19 in the past 90 days, do not need to quarantine. 

  • If you are a close contact, you should follow the OHIO COVID-19 Protocol and complete an incident report. If you are unsure whether your contact with an infected person counts as an exposure, complete an incident report and follow the instructions in the Protocol to quarantine while waiting for help from COVID Ops to determine close contact status. 
  • If you are a close contact but you are not required to quarantine based on your up-to-date or past-positive status, you do not need to wait for your test result after day five to continue campus activities, unless you develop symptoms. 
  • If you are a close contact and you DO need to quarantine for five days based on your up-to-date or past-positive status, you DO need to wait for your test result after day five before returning to campus. Your COVID Campus Liaison will give you instructions for testing on day five and for submitting your test result to COVID Operations. You need to receive written clearance via email before returning to campus activities. 
  • If you are not a close contact, you should continue with campus activities while still layering infection prevention tools to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Anyone taking weekly asymptomatic tests unrelated to exposure does not need to wait for their test result to continue campus activities (unless they are also in quarantine). 
  • Anyone who develops symptoms should isolate immediately and follow the OHIO COVID-19 Protocol for symptomatic individuals. 

All OHIO students, faculty, and staff asked to upload vaccination or booster record to avoid quarantine 

The CDC’s updated quarantine guidance allows those who are up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations to avoid a five-day quarantine if exposed to the virus. If you are not yet vaccinated or boosted, schedule an appointment anywhere in Ohio.

If you are up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations but haven’t yet uploaded your vaccination card, do so now via the COVID-19 Testing Pathway Program. If you previously selected a pathway but have not already uploaded your vaccination card, do so immediately by pasting the above link into an incognito browser.

If you have been boosted but haven’t yet uploaded your booster record, do so now and avoid quarantine if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19: Upload your booster record. Only those who are up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines and have recorded their vaccination series through the COVID-19 Testing Pathway Program can access this booster recording form.

NOTE: You must upload your booster record via the booster link above in addition to uploading your vaccination record via the COVID-19 Testing Pathway Program, even if your vaccine and booster are recorded on the same card. 

Seasonal Flu and COVID-19

Flu and COVID-19 share many symptoms. If you experience symptoms of flu or COVID-19, follow the symptomatic protocol above. Learn more about the flu and what to do if you feel sick.

Definitions

 

COVID-19 symptoms: People with COVID-19 report a wide range of symptoms, ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, and many symptoms are the same as the seasonal flu. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms, which include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. This list does not include all possible symptoms. 

COVID positive: A person becomes a confirmed positive or "index" case when given a positive test result.

Close contact: Close contact: A close contact is defined by the CDC as someone who was exposed to someone with COVID-19 according to the following parameters: within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from two days before the positive individual’s illness onset (or, for asymptomatic people, two days prior to their test).

Contact tracing: There are two parts to contact tracing. 1) Case Investigation: A case (someone who has tested positive or is presumed positive) is called by a COVID Campus Liaison (CCL) or contact tracer. The CCL or contact tracer will inquire about symptoms and all people who may have been exposed (by close contact definition above) during the period that the case was infectious. Those individuals are defined as close contacts. The CCL will ask for contact details so they can call people who may be at risk. 2) Contact call: All people identified as close contacts during the case investigation will receive contact from the CCL. They will ask close contacts about symptoms and inform them of the need to quarantine if applicable. The name of the person who tested positive will not be shared with the close contact(s).

Quarantine: Separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Isolation: Separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.

Up-to-date: According to the CDC, "up-to-date" means a person has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including any booster dose(s) when eligible.

Fully vaccinated: According to the CDC, "fully vaccinated" means a person has received their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.