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What to Do if You've Been in Close Contact with COVID-19?

Have you been in close contact* with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19? If yes, please follow the procedures detailed below. Your identity will be kept confidential to the greatest extent possible.

​*Per the Hamilton County Health Department, close contact is defined as being within six (6) feet of an individual for a 24-hour cumulative period of 15 minutes or longer, and regardless of whether masks were being worn. Close contact does not mean walking by or briefly being in the same room.

close contact chart

Additional Information

  1. Isolating on Campus: Should you become ill or receive confirmation of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and are unable to immediately leave campus, TCAT 31 has been designated as the COVID-19 isolation area for TCAT students and employees. Room C56 in the CAT building has been designated as the COVID-19 isolation area for all non-TCAT students and employees.

  2. You should monitor yourself closely for symptoms of COVID-19 and seek medical advice immediately should symptoms occur.
  3. Notify anyone with whom you have been in close contact since your potential exposure.

Quarantine Timing

www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/health/documents/cedep/novel-coronavirus/Isolation-QuarantineRelease.pdf

  • Household contacts (an individual who shares living space with a positive COVID-19 case) must be quarantined for a minimum of 24 days. Household contacts must be quarantined for 14 days after the case has completed their (minimum) 10-day isolation period (whether the case is symptomatic or not). If a household contact develops symptoms of COVID-19, they become a case and should begin isolation as a case and consider getting tested. Note – if the case can separate from household members for their entire isolation, household members may be treated as non-household contact.
     
  • Non-household contacts must quarantine for 14 dates after the date of last exposure.
     
  • You may not return to campus until the conclusion of the quarantine period and only if you are not showing symptoms of COVID-19. This applies even if you are tested for COVID-19 during quarantine and the results are negative as you may be asymptomatic and still be infectious.

Health Department Role in Case Analysis & Contact Tracing

Contact Tracing

  • According to the Health Department, a “contact” is someone in the household or a close contact (within 6 feet for 10 minutes or more) of an infected individual. Those exposed to the infected individual would not include everyone who had a class with the infected individual, but rather, someone who sat in the same vicinity, or shared space or surfaces.
     
  • When the Health Department is notified of a positive case, their contact tracers immediately contact the individual or close family members to learn about recent outings, visits, trips, appointments, etc. The contact tracer creates a list of every individual with whom the person has come in contact. The contact tracer notifies each potential contact that they have been exposed to a positive case.
     
  • Contacts undergoing the mandatory 14-day quarantine are assigned a contact monitor from the Health Department. Contact monitors call people undergoing quarantine daily to monitor their symptoms.
     
  • Close contacts can be tested anytime during their 14-day quarantine if they begin to show symptoms. Otherwise, a close contact should be tested at the end of their quarantine. Note – if tested at the beginning of the 14-day quarantine, the individual will be required to quarantine the full 14 days as the virus could still be in the incubation phase.
     
  • The Hamilton County Health Department will notify both the positive case and any close contacts as to when their isolation or quarantine should end.

Chattanooga State’s Role

When a student or employee has been deemed a “contact,” the College will provide assistance to the Hamilton County Health Department. Assistance may include providing class rosters, seating charts, identities of students who sat near the infected student, identities of employees in shared office space and a list of locations on campus where the infected individual may have visited.  The contract tracer from the Hamilton County Health Department will complete the investigation.

Additional Information

  • The Health Department has a Health Officer who has the authority to issue a “Health Directive.” That person will have the responsibility to police the mandates and quarantines.  That is not the responsibility of Chattanooga State or the personnel of Chattanooga State.
     
  • The Chattanooga State liaison to the Health Department is Bev Fulbright from the Department of Epidemiology, Phone # is 423-209-8194. The phone # for the Health Department Hotline for questions is 423-209-8383.

Isolation vs Quarantine – What’s the Difference

TN Department of Health - Releasing Cases & Contacts from Isolation & Quarantine

Isolation – for COVID-19 Positive Cases

  • Isolation means staying home and staying away from people.
     
  • Isolation is used to keep an individual who has been infected with SARS-CoV-2 away from people who are not infected in order to slow the spread of the disease. Individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have symptoms of COVID-19 are to self-isolate for a period of 10 days from the onset of their symptoms or, if they never developed symptoms, from the date their positive test was collected. Additionally, the individual must be free of fever (without fever reducing medications) and must have improvement of COVID-19 symptoms for at least 24 hours before leaving isolation.
     
  • Isolated individuals should not leave home except to seek emergency medical attention.
    • If an individual in isolation must leave home, they should wear a cloth face covering or mask, remain at least six feet from others and, if seeking medical care, notify the facility prior to their arrival that they are currently in isolation for COVID-19.
    • Students and employees who are in isolation are not to be present on Chattanooga State property or instructional sites until the 10-day period of isolation has elapsed.
       
  • Isolation is not optional and may be formally ordered by the Department of Health if instructions are not followed.
     
  • You can reduce your chances of having to self-isolate by wearing a face covering as directed and maintaining six feet of physical distance from others. Reducing your chances of being a close contact is just one of the benefits of wearing face coverings as directed. Wearing a face covering and maintaining social distance protects you, protects others, and helps keep campus open.

Quarantine – for Close Contacts

  • Quarantine means staying home and staying away from people.
     
  • Quarantine is used to keep close contacts (within six feet of someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 for ten or more minutes) of infected individuals away from people who have not been exposed in order to slow the spread of the disease. Individuals who have been exposed may become infectious at any time within 14 days of their last exposure to an individual with COVID-19.
     
  • Quarantined individuals should not leave home except to seek emergency medical attention.
    • If an individual in quarantine must leave home, they should wear a cloth face covering or mask, remain at least six feet from others and, if seeking medical care, notify the facility prior to their arrival that they are currently in quarantine for COVID-19.
       
  • Quarantine is not optional and may be formally ordered by the Department of Health if instructions are not followed.