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Columbus State University

August 25, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates: Active Cases and Contact Tracing

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Last week, we indicated that updates on CSU's active COVID-19 cases would be shared weekly. As of Aug. 24, the university has eight active, self-reported cases involving students and employees who have tested positive for COVID-19. Each of these individuals is working directly with a member of the COVID-19 Response Team to determine his or her projected return to campus.

News of our plans to share these updates with you prompted a few questions about the university's response is when an "active case" — a positive COVID-19 test confirmed by a medical provider or authorized lab self-reported by a student or employee — is submitted to our COVID-19 Notification and Response Team through our online self-reporting form.

What, and why, would I self-report?

Students, employees, or anyone who visited or performed a service on campus should complete CSU's online self-reporting form if they:

  • have any symptoms of COVID-19;
  • feel they may have been in close contact with someone testing positive for COVID-19; and/or
  • have received a positive COVID-19 test.

They should also isolate themselves, and if symptoms are severe, contact their health care provider or the Student Health Center at 706-507-8620.

What do you mean by "close contact"?

A brief encounter with someone who later tests positive for COVID-19 is not an automatic trigger for completing the online self-reporting form. "Close contact" involves at least one of the three following situations:

  • Living with or caring for a person sick with COVID-19;
  • Being within six feet of a person sick with COVID-19 for about 15 minutes (no matter whether one, both or neither of you were wearing a mask at the time); and/or
  • Being in direct contact with secretions from a person sick with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.).

What does CSU do when it receives a self-reported positive COVID-19 notification?

CSU's well-outlined response plan includes personalized case management for the individual involved as prescribed by the CDC (depending on his or her exposure or health situation), contact tracing (notifying anyone who might have been within close contact of the sick person), and temporary closure and rigorous sanitizing and disinfecting of the spaces that may have been involved.

Will I be notified if someone I've been around reports a positive COVID-19 test?

Georgia Department of Public Health guidelines specify that only individuals who have been within six feet of a person sick with or testing positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more are at risk of exposure. CSU, therefore, will research, identify and notify those who fit that description as part of our contract notification protocols.

Should I get a COVID-19 test just to be on the safe side?

The CDC and Georgia Department of Public Health recommend being tested for COVID-19 only if you exhibit symptoms, or you believe or have been notified you've been in close contact with an infected individual. It is important to be aware that, due to the virus' incubation period, a negative test is not an "all-clear," and self-isolation may also be required, depending on the type of exposure.

Making wise choices

Last Friday, we encouraged you to make wise choices: wearing a face covering, washing your hands, maintaining physical distancing, declining invitations to large gatherings, and avoiding shared food and beverages. Also on Friday, Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson issued an executive order requiring face coverings to be worn while in public.

Those recommendations are essential to maintaining a safe and healthy campus, so please do your part to show that #CougarsCare for each other, our campus and the entire Columbus community.

Sincerely,
Dr. Chip Reese
Chair, Return-to-Campus Task Force and Associate Vice President, Student Affairs