Contact tracing and isolation of people with COVID-19 and close contacts are critical to help slow the transmission of COVID-19 in our communities. Pacific is implementing processes to help assist in contact tracing if it becomes necessary and will work closely with local health departments to assist in contact tracing and notification as needed.
Contact Tracing Process
Health Department - When someone tests positive for COVID-19, it is reported to the county public health department by the medical provider. Under ideal circumstances, the department they will call the person who tested positive to find out how they are doing, who they have been near, and where they might have been exposed to the virus. They do not come to your home. However, due to the overwhelming nature of this pandemic, it is critical for university safety that we develop and utilize our own system of contact tracing.
Pacific’s COVID Monitoring & Support Team will assist the county, if asked, with information on that community member’s location data on campus (remembering where one has been for two weeks in full can be challenging without using technology). If a community member comes forward and has either tested positive and is working with the county directly, or if they believe that they have been exposed, we will gladly connect them to resources, support them, and help them make plans for isolation or quarantine.
Recognizing Contact Tracers
In most cases, caller ID will say 503-846-8400, Washington County or Washington County Public Health to indicate a call from the Washington County Public Health Department (Forest Grove and Hillsboro campuses). If you do not answer, they will leave a generic message (with no private details) and ask you to call them back.
If Pacific’s team calls you, it will be a 503-352 number via Zoom’s telehealth feature. Like the county, we will leave a generic message (with no private details), and we will ask that you call us back. You are not required to return our phone call as we are meant to be solely a resource and support system for our community. We will do our best to connect you with any resources you may need whether it is from the campus community or within the wider community. We will also work with you to plan on how to quarantine or isolate safely.
Information Provided During Contact Tracing
The information you give the county is protected health information, so it is kept private. They will not tell people who might have been exposed unless you give them your permission. Sometimes they will need to notify places you have been while infectious, such as a workplace or institution.
Like the county, health information shared with Pacific University is protected and private under HIPAA. We will reach out to those you have informed us have been in close contact with you (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes), but, like the county, we will not tell the others we contact who you are unless you give us your permission. For student workers, depending on your specific situation, we may need to notify your faculty or a specific location (like a residence hall floor) but we would work with you and let you know what may need to be done.