Contact Tracing at Cornell
What is a contact tracing event?
A contact tracing "event" is the contact tracing done after an individual has a positive test, or when a group of individuals are connected to each other by a single event or person. The CDC has identified that contact tracing helps slow the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
If you are part of a contact tracing event on campus, what should you expect?
If you are the individual who tested positive
A representative from the Student Health Center will ask you to make a list of all of the people you’ve been in contact with who qualify as a close contact per CDC guidelines, over the last 48 hours. A close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of you for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period with or without face coverings.
They will ask for:
- Names and phone numbers of people you’ve interacted with on campus
- Situations where you were around a group of people but may not know everyone and the timeframe you were around them
Examples of close contacts could include roommates, teammates, classmates, a professor, an advisor you met with in person, friends who gathered together (even if outdoors), co-workers, or anyone you spent time with in a car or other enclosed space.
You will be asked to reach out to each of those contacts to let them know that you tested positive and that someone from the Student Health Center will be contacting them.
Once your close contacts have been identified, a representative from the Student Health Center will contact them to let them know they may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, and to schedule a time to be tested. They will maintain confidentiality, and will not tell your contacts that you were the person who tested positive.
If you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive
You will receive a phone call from a representative from the Student Health Center to talk you through next steps. As a close contact you will be expected to:
- Set up a testing time as directed by the Student Health Center.
- Continue to complete the symptom checker every day
- Quarantine in your residence hall room or at home for 14 days after exposure and monitor yourself for symptoms. If you prefer to quarantine at home, you need to let the Student Health Center know.
- If you have a roommate, and your roommate was not exposed at the same time you were, your roommate is not considered a close contact and may leave the room unless you eventually test positive. At that point, your roommate would then become a close contact and would need to quarantine for 14 days.
- Notify your professor that you will be attending class remotely while you quarantine and make any necessary arrangements to keep your classwork on track.
- Notify your coach, work study supervisor, off campus employer, or anyone else that needs to know you will be in quarantine for 14 days.
- Have meals delivered to your room from Bon Appetit while you quarantine. You can check the daily menu and place your order by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Stay in touch with the Student Health Center (x4292) if you have concerns about your physical health, and please take advantage of our counseling center resources if you’re feeling afraid or anxious.
What happens if you test positive for COVID-19 while at Cornell?
If you receive a positive test result, you will be required to isolate for 10 days from the date your symptoms first began, or the date of your positive test if you are asymptomatic. You may choose to remain on campus in one of our isolation spaces, or you have the option to return home and isolate there as long as traveling home does not involve public transportation, and no one at home is in a high risk category. As long as you are feeling well, you can keep up with your classwork by participating online only. If you do not feel well enough to study, you will have the option to withdraw from your course with a COVID-19 exception that will allow you to take it later at no cost and you may still remain in our campus isolation space.
While you are in isolation, we’re here to support you. Campus safety will help you move into your temporary space and ensure that you get there safely. We have the space prepared for you as this video shows, and the Student Health Center will be in regular contact to see how you are feeling and assist you with any additional medical care, should you need it.
While in isolation you will be expected to:
- Stay on premises and not have contact with people outside the facility
- Check in with the nurse every day
- Request your meals for delivery from Bon Appetit
- Continue to participate in online meetings and events to stay connected with friends and groups on campus at your comfort level doing so
- Take advantage of our counseling center resources if you’re feeling afraid or anxious
What if my symptoms are bad and I need a doctor or hospitalization?
If your symptoms worsen while in isolation, we have provided a list of resources for UnityPoint Clinic and area hospitals on the refrigerator door in each isolation suite. If you don't have transportation of your own, or are unable to drive, call the Mount Vernon Lisbon Ambulance Service for transportation to any of the 4 area hospitals.