Positive Case Response Procedures
Stanford has established a process to respond to positive COVID-19 cases which satisfies requirements within the Santa Clara County Health Officer’s Risk Reduction Order dated 7/2/2020.
The following describes the general process of how cases are managed and the corresponding responsibilities of involved groups.
1. Positive Case Isolation
The infected person is instructed to immediately leave campus and told to stay home and isolate for 14 days from the date their symptoms began AND for 7 days with improvement in respiratory symptoms and no fever. The EOC Medical Support Team provides specific recommendations on when the individual is allowed to safely return.
2. County Notification
The County Public Health Department is notified by the EOC Medical Support Team within 4 hours of learning of the positive case.
3. Area Closure
EOC Safety Team to work with lab/ department management to identify and close rooms/ areas (e.g., office, lab, shop) used by the infected person within the last 48 hours until disinfection and sanitization of these areas is complete. Work in these locations must cease until disinfection and sanitization is complete.
4. Area Cleaning
EOC Safety Team to work with lab/ department management to disinfect and sanitize each area used by the infected person within the last 48 hours as required by Santa Clara County Public Health, focusing on frequently touched surfaces. All cleaning and disinfection procedures are consistent w/ specifications from the US Center for Diseases Control (CDC).
5. Contact Tracing
Any University personnel who had close contact with the infected person will be identified and promptly contacted by the Medical Support Team within 24 hours of the initial positive case report. A close contact is someone who was within six feet of the infected person for at least 15 minutes, beginning two days before the person had symptoms or tested positive and ending the last day they came to work.
NOTE: All close contacts will be instructed to stay home for 14 days from their last contact with the infected individual, even if they test negative for COVID-19. Close contacts should be tested for COVID-19.
6. Local Notification of Positive Case
EOC Safety Team will work with lab/ department management to notify occupants of the building(s) where the infected person was present to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days after the last day the infected person was at work.
What should I do if I receive a building notification?
Given the level of community spread in the county and broader Bay Area, COVID-19 cases are expected to occur on campus. The University is taking steps to isolate identified cases, test their close contacts, enhance cleaning of common areas across campus, and perform periodic screening to keep transmission rates low. The campus community is urged to continue complying with the Social Distancing Protocol requirements, including physical distancing, use of face coverings, and hand hygiene, as these measures significantly reduce the risk of acquiring and spreading COVID-19.
In addition, remember to complete your daily submission to Stanford’s Health Check if you are coming on-site. Health Check is an automated symptom tracker to keep our onsite population healthy through early self-reporting of COVID-like symptoms, exposures to sick contacts, and positive COVID testing.
- You are advised to self-monitor for symptoms.
- If you develop COVID-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, contact your primary health care provider and report this through Health Check.
- Stanford offers voluntary COVID surveillance testing to confirm that onsite individuals are well. For information on surveillance testing, Faculty, Staff, and Post-Doctoral Fellows should visit the HealthAlerts web page.
- If you are tested for COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19, notify Stanford via Health Check and make sure to follow-up with your personal physician.
For the most up-to-date information about Stanford’s policies on and response to COVID-19, please visit healthalerts.stanford.edu.Responsibilities of Involved Groups
Positive Case Individual
- Re-submit daily HealthCheck to report the positive test result as soon as possible.
- Notify the Supervisor/ PI that they will not be coming to campus.
- As required by the Medical Support Team investigation, provide requested information including but not limited to:
- visited locations on campus within the previous 48 hours, and
- identity of close contacts.
- Remain isolated per instruction by the Medical Support Team and County Public Health.
Individual’s PI/ Supervisor
- Upon being contacted by the EOC Medical Support Team, the PI/ Supervisor will verify who is the best point of contact for exposure tracing and determine areas occupied by personnel who tested positive (Supervisor, PI, or Lab Safety Coordinator).
- EOC Safety Team contacts the PI/ Supervisor to verify locations of concern, and where cleaning is required, to clarify any sensitive locations that are not to be disturbed during a cleaning effort.
- For identified locations that require site cleaning and disinfection, the PI/ Supervisor will promptly close the applicable room(s) by posting door signage.
- Once cleaning services have been performed, the EOC Safety Team will notify PI/ Supervisor that closed spaces may be reopened.
- Based on the assessment of information collected, the EOC Safety Team determines the level of cleaning and disinfection that may be necessary for the affected area(s) and informs Facilities Management (or another Department-specified contact).
- Facilities/ Department Management to promptly notify building occupants of the positive case using a template provided by the Safety Team. The document informs building occupants:
- the timeframe of the recent positive case in the building;
- that occupants who were close contacts w/ the positive case have been individually notified; and
- that all occupants should continue to self-monitor for symptoms per daily HealthCheck, at least for a 14-day period.
Close Contact Employees
- The Medical Support Team will reach out directly to individuals deemed close contacts (defined as within 6 feet for >15 mins) to advise them on self-quarantine and testing requirements and recommendations.
- Close contacts are not allowed to come back to campus until instructed they can do so. More information is available on Health Alerts.
General Building Occupants/ Non-Close Contacts
- Building occupants will receive a notification that a positively-tested individual had been inside their building, which explains their level of risk and offers further guidance (see below for details).
COVID Notifications for Building Occupants
Out of an abundance of caution, building occupants are being provided email notifications of any local positive case that has been identified. People known to have been within 6 feet of a positive individual for more than 15 minutes are considered close contacts and are promptly notified directly by medical professionals for further evaluation. All other persons who may have occupied a building in the same general time period as the positive individual are not close contacts as defined by the US Center for Diseases Control and California Department of Public Health, and are not considered as having elevated risk of exposure.
People known to have been within 6 feet of a positive individual for more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period are considered close contacts and are promptly notified directly by medical professionals for further evaluation.
These close contacts are contacted directly by medical professionals (either Stanford Medical Team or the county contact tracers) for further evaluation. In making these notifications, the university follows federal and state privacy-protection requirements.
Workplaces & Instructional Spaces
All other persons who may have occupied a building in the same general time period as the positive individual are not close contacts as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and California Department of Public Health, and are not considered as having elevated risk of exposure. But Stanford does notify individuals who may have been present in the same building as an individual with COVID-19 and may have been exposed. In making notifications, the university follows federal and state privacy-protection requirements.
Stanford is required by state law to inform employees, including postdoctoral scholars and students with university jobs, of a positive case in a building where they work. Under the law, this notification is required within 1 business day after the university learns of the possible exposure. The notice provides details on quarantine pay, sick time, disability and workers’ compensation benefits. Students who have been in instructional spaces where a positive case has been identified will also be notified.
Please note: If you have received a building notification and have not been contacted separately that you were in close contact with a positive individual, you are not considered as having an elevated risk of exposure, and may continue to report to work on-site. When completing your Health Check following receipt of a notification, you do not need to indicate that you have been exposed.
Close contacts of a student with a confirmed positive COVID-19 test are contacted directly. A close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour period. Students who test positive and their close contacts receive on-campus isolation housing, meal delivery, and medical care.
While not required by law, Stanford is following an additional set of standards for notifying individuals who are not close contacts when positive cases are identified in student residences.
In order to protect the privacy of personal health information, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 cannot be identified.
- Floor-level notifications for on-campus residences with shared restrooms: The university will notify students, who are not close contacts, that someone who lives on their floor has tested positive for COVID-19. These notices recognize the possibility that, for example, other students passed this individual in the hall or shared the same restroom, where students may remove their face coverings to brush teeth. While this is a low level of exposure, the university shares this information out of an abundance of caution.
- Building-level notifications for on-campus residences: The university will provide building-wide notifications in student residences generally upon reaching a threshold of three cases within a building in a seven-day period.
- Building-wide notifications for workplaces and instructional spaces: Building-wide notifications may be issued at a smaller number of cases, depending on medical experts’ judgment of whether there is a significant threat based on the residence’s size.
The university understands that notifications may generate some fear or anxiety among students, and has made a number of resources available to them. Students with additional questions or concerns should contact the on-call residence dean or Graduate Life Office Dean on Call. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) assistance is available 24/7. Well-Being at Stanford offers a wealth of virtual resources and opportunities.