July 25, 2021
Dear Tulane Community,
We continue to monitor cases of COVID-19 in the New Orleans area, which has seen a steep increase recently due to the spread of the Delta variant, mainly in unvaccinated individuals. Nationwide, there is an increase of COVID-19 cases, and Louisiana is one of the states where it is spreading rapidly. According to the City of New Orleans, 97% of those hospitalized are unvaccinated individuals. Vaccinations are our best line of defense against this global epidemic and we encourage all in our community to receive the vaccine as soon as possible. More than 90% of Tulane faculty and staff and more than 95% of students report that they are fully vaccinated. If you have not done so, please report your vaccination immediately. When more people are vaccinated, there are fewer chances for COVID-19 to spread or mutate.
Given the high number of vaccinated individuals in our community, we will continue with on-site work for all employees, except for those with an approved Flexible Work Arrangement. It is currently unclear if vaccinated individuals who are asymptomatic can transmit the virus to others. In an abundance of caution and in alignment with the recent announcement by Governor Edwards, we are requiring masks indoors for all – vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals – if you cannot maintain 6 feet of social distancing. Anyone not yet fully vaccinated is required to mask and distance in public settings and particularly indoors for their safety and the safety of others.
If you have received a positive COVID-19 test from a testing center outside of Tulane or believe you are a close contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, you must complete a COVID-19 Reporting Form. Once you complete the form, a contact tracer will reach out and advise you on what actions to take. The CDC and Louisiana Department of Health have advised the following:
- All individuals who test positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, must immediately isolate. If symptomatic, isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms, until symptoms are improving and you have experienced at least 24 hours of no fever without fever-reducing medication. If asymptomatic, isolate 10 days from the time the test sample was collected.
- Beginning July 26, all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, should take a COVID-19 test immediately after a known or suspected exposure to COVID-19. If positive, you should isolate. If negative, you should retest again between 5-7 days post-exposure. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 at any point following a negative test, you should test and isolate pending the results.
- Anyone with symptoms, even those who are fully vaccinated or without a known exposure should get tested.
- For unvaccinated individuals who are close contacts to a known case of COVID-19, CDC guidance requires quarantine for at least 7 days with release after a negative test.
- For vaccinated individuals who are close contacts to a known case of COVID-19, CDC guidance does not require quarantine following a negative test. We recommend that you wear a mask, maintain 6 feet of social distancing and monitor for symptoms.
- Tulane Contact Tracers make all decisions on quarantine and isolation dates. You are required to report exposures or positive test results immediately.
- COVID-19 surveillance testing is a requirement for all faculty, staff, undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who are on a Tulane campus during the summer. Everyone should be participating in surveillance testing twice per month regardless of vaccine status or the presence of antibodies from a previous COVID-19 infection.
- Protocols for Fall Testing will be announced in the coming weeks.
Important COVID-19 Testing Facts
- Employees who are symptomatic or are a close contact to a known case can contact the Living Well Clinics or their personal health care provider for testing. The Tulane Testing Centers and the Student Health Centers do not provide symptomatic testing for employees.
- Please do not schedule an appointment or visit a campus testing center before receiving a QR code via email from email@example.com. If you do not have an active order (QR code) to get tested, you will be turned away from the testing center. For questions about testing, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Remember, if you have tested positive outside of the Tulane Testing Program, you must submit documentation through the COVID-19 Reporting Form.
- If you have tested positive, you do not need to be tested again for 90 days. If you receive a notice of a positive result, please contact CHTestResults@tulane.edu for assistance.
Receiving the vaccine does not exempt you from the testing program.