Posted August 27, 2020

How contact tracing works at Temple

The Contact Tracing Unit will use interviews and data to find out where someone who tested positive for COVID-19 has been and identify who they came into contact with.
 

A person in silhouette walking through Morgan Hall.
Photography By: 
Ryan S. Brandenberg
Privacy is a critical part of Temple's contact tracing efforts and our Contract Tracing Unit is trained to handle this work with thoroughness and sensitivity.

Temple has introduced several new measures to ensure the health and safety of its community during the coronavirus pandemic, including contact tracing.

When someone tests positive for or is likely to have COVID-19, contact tracing is how the people they have come into close contact with—and who might have been exposed to the virus—are identified, monitored and supported. The patient’s identity isn’t discussed with the contacts.

At Temple, the Contact Tracing Unit (CTU) will use interviews and available data to find out where someone who tested positive has been and what areas are the highest risk spaces. Physical distancing and wearing masks helps lessen the risks for all university spaces.

The CTU notifies everyone who has been in close contact with the patient. Close contact is defined as being closer than six feet, for 15 or more minutes, to someone who has tested positive for or is presumed to have COVID-19.

The data that helps inform the definition of close contact is limited. As of July 31, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends looking at proximity, the duration of exposure (a longer exposure time likely increases the exposure risk) and whether the exposure was to a person with symptoms (coughing likely increases the exposure risk). Read the university’s protocols for when a student or an employee tests positive for more details.

Temple’s CTU will notify all close contacts. No administrators, staff or faculty may notify close contacts or others directly in the interest of maintaining patients’ privacy.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate, per the guidelines in the Student Safety Protocol and as instructed by Student Health Services. Employees who test positive must also isolate, per the guidelines in the Employee Safety Protocol and as instructed by Employee Health.

Close contacts, as determined by the CTU, will receive instructions for how to self-quarantine for 14 days. If they are students, they should also refer to the Student Safety Protocol; if employees, to the Employee Safety Protocol.

Read the full protocols for when a student or an employee tests positive.