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COVID Operations provides details on isolation and quarantine

Published: January 21, 2022 Author: Staff reports

Recent changes in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), implemented at OHIO, regarding COVID-19 isolation and quarantine have generated discussion and questions among the OHIO community about what individuals should do if they test positive for COVID-19 or are exposed to the virus.

“People often don’t realize there is a difference between isolation and quarantine in the first place, which adds to the confusion about the CDC guidance,” says Jivanto Van Hemert, director of Case Management & COVID Response Operations. “It’s no wonder people are confused, not just at OHIO but nationwide.”

The OHIO COVID-19 Protocol, which follows CDC guidance, outlines exactly what OHIO students, faculty, and staff must do if they test positive for COVID-19, experience symptoms, or are exposed to the virus. Van Hemert recommends that all OHIO community members familiarize themselves with the Protocol so they have a baseline understanding of expectations if they find themselves in one of these situations. 

According to the CDC:

  • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate. 
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. 
Isolation

As outlined in the OHIO COVID-19 Protocol, individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 must follow isolation instructions (in addition to the other steps outlined in the protocol).

Isolation instructions are the same regardless of vaccination status:

  • Stay home and isolate for at least five days.
  • Do not attend class or any other activities.

The individual will get more details on how to isolate when they speak with a COVID Campus Liaison (CCL) as part of the protocol process. If the individual has no symptoms after five days, their CCL will clear them to return to campus activities on day six, at which point they must wear a mask around others for five additional days. Individuals must wait for written clearance via email from their CCL before returning to campus activities.

Symptomatic: Individuals who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 but do not yet know if they are infected with the virus should follow isolation instructions until they receive a negative test result or other instructions from a CCL.

Quarantine

As outlined in the OHIO COVID-19 Protocol, individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 (i.e., in close contact with someone who has COVID-19) must follow quarantine instructions based on whether they are “up to date” on COVID-19 vaccinations and whether they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days:

  • 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.
  • Up to date means a person has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including any booster dose(s) when eligible.

Exposed individuals who are up to date on COVID-19 vaccines or who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days are not required to quarantine but must schedule and complete an asymptomatic test on day five post exposure and must wear a mask around others for at least 10 full days. They will get details on how and when to test when they speak with a CCL. They do not need to wait for a test result after day five to continue campus activities, unless they develop symptoms.

Exposed individuals who are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and who have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days must quarantine for five days and must wait for their test result after day five and receive written clearance via email from their CCL before returning to campus activities. The CCL will provide instructions for testing on day five and for submitting test results to COVID Operations. 

Anyone who develops symptoms should isolate immediately and follow the OHIO COVID-19 Protocol for symptomatic individuals.

All OHIO students, faculty, and staff are asked to upload their COVID-19 vaccination and booster records to avoid quarantine if exposed to COVID-19.

“As the virus evolves and science advances, OHIO will continue to follow guidance from the CDC and ODH,” Van Hemert says. “We appreciate your patience and support as we navigate these changing guidelines.”

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