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Testing & Tracing

Last Updated: September 23, 2020

The purpose of Tulane’s comprehensive and ongoing testing program is to swiftly identify and isolate all positive individuals and to quarantine all close contacts to contain the potential spread of COVID-19.

Tulane University is requiring ongoing COVID-19 testing for all students, faculty and staff. The test uses a RT-PCR method approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The test is performed by the Molecular Pathology Laboratory at the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine of Tulane University School of Medicine. The laboratory is certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) and accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) to perform high-complexity testing. All testing data, including numbers of tests and positive results, are shared with the Louisiana Department of Health and are reflected in state and city reporting.

Results from all testing conducted by Tulane’s Molecular Pathology Lab, including numbers of tests and positive results, is shared with the Louisiana Department of Health and is reflected in state and city reporting. All personally identifiable information related to COVID-19 testing will be kept confidential. Tulane will not disclose the name of any person with COVID-19 to anyone, including the contacts that are notified through the tracing program.

 

 

Types of Testing

Asymptomatic Surveillance Testing

This testing program is administered through the Tulane Testing Centers (Paterson, Phelps, Downtown) and is scheduled via email prompts, which all Tulane students, faculty and staff should be receiving. The Testing Centers are for asymptomatic surveillance testing – not for testing symptomatic individuals. Do not call or email to schedule testing until you've received a notification email. Test results will be returned within 48 hours. You will receive an email and/or phone call with your results.

For questions about testing, email CHTestResults@wave.tulane.edu.

Symptomatic Testing

If you are a student who is experiencing symptoms, you should schedule a telehealth visit through the Campus Health Patient Portal or contact your healthcare provider. If you are an employee who is experiencing symptoms, you should contact the Living Well Clinic or your healthcare provider.

Quarantine

Students who are close contacts of someone who tests positive will be tested preferably 5-7 days after exposure. Sometimes this delay will occur even if the student is symptomatic because the delay allows an increased probability that the test will accurately reflect the student's infection status. Students who are quarantined at the Hyatt will receive an email regarding the date and general time frame of their test. Students who are quarantined off campus should schedule a telehealth appointment with Campus Health to get a test scheduled. A negative test does not provide release from quarantine; it is conducted to determine if a close contact has become a positive case and will need a different level of isolation.

Retesting Positives

Retesting for those who have already tested positive depends on the specific situation. Individuals should work with their healthcare provider to best determine return to work or class testing protocols.  Some individuals who test positive may continue to test positive, even after they are no longer contagious. Typically, we test a confirmed positive case 6 weeks after their initial positive test.

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Tulane Testing Centers

Tulane has opened three Testing Centers to screen asymptomatic individuals (people without symptoms of COVID-19). The centers do not allow drop-in testing for those who are experiencing symptoms or who may have been exposed. Do not visit a testing center without scheduling first. Appointments are required for safety purposes — schedules allow for social distancing and to manage flow and wait times.

Emails are sent to prompt test scheduling. Please do not visit a campus testing center before receiving a scheduling notice. Do not call or email to schedule testing until you've received a notification email.

If you are student and are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to a known case, you should schedule a telehealth visit through the Campus Health Patient Portal or contact your healthcare provider. If you are an employee who is experiencing symptoms, you should contact the Living Well Clinic or your healthcare provider.

For questions about testing, email CHTestResults@wave.tulane.edu.

Locations
  • Phelps Hall — 27 McAlister Place
    Testing for undergraduates only at this location
     
  • Paterson Hall — 2400 Wall Alley
     
  • Downtown/LaSalle
    226 South Villere Street, next to Tulane Hospital’s LaSalle Garage exit

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Testing Frequency

We are currently working to increase our testing program and will be ramping up to deliver the following schedule in coming weeks:

  • On-campus undergraduate students: twice weekly
     
  • Off-campus undergraduate students: weekly
     
  • Graduate and Professional students: at least monthly
     
  • Employees (including faculty, staff and Sodexo/Allied staff): at least monthly, with an option to be tested more frequently

We will provide an option to request increased testing and will share information when that feature comes online soon. Please allow 48 hours for results to be available in the patient portal.

Emails are sent to prompt test scheduling. Please do not visit a campus testing center before receiving a scheduling notice. Do not call or email to schedule testing until you've received a notification email.

For questions about testing, email CHTestResults@wave.tulane.edu.

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Contact Tracing

Tulane’s contact tracing protocols are guided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local public health agencies and utilize the Johns Hopkins model. The goal of contact tracing it to swiftly identify close contact to those who have tested positive with COVID-19 to prevent transmission.

If a member of the Tulane community tests positive for COVID-19 at a Tulane Testing Center, the Student Health Center or the Living Well Clinic, they will be contacted by a Tulane Contact Tracer. Tulane Contact Tracers will interview the COVID-19 positive person to identify close contacts, help monitor symptoms and provide resources to support isolation.

If a member of the Tulane community receives notice of a positive result from an outside healthcare provider, they must complete the COVID-19 Reporting Form so that contact tracing can be implemented. Employees should immediately notify their supervisor. If an employee is unable to complete the form due to illness, a supervisor can complete it on their behalf. Additional resources may be triggered following submission of the form.

Tulane Contact Tracers will call members of the Tulane Community who may have closely interacted with the person who tested positive. The names of contacts not affiliated with Tulane will not be contacted by Tulane Contact Tracers. Tulane Campus Health will coordinate with the Louisiana Department of Health to notify non-affiliates.

Tulane Contact Tracers will not share the identity of the person who tested positive with the contacts.

CDC guidance provides specific criteria to guide contact tracing notifications. Please do not take actions (e.g. cancel classes, send entire groups of people home) that impact a wide array of people. Tulane Contact Tracers will advise Human Resources regarding necessary actions.

For questions about contact tracing, email CHContactTrace@tulane.edu.

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Quarantine & Isolation

Students, faculty and staff who are experiencing symptoms, have been exposed or have tested positive for COVID-19 are required to quarantine or isolate. The CDC provides two separate definitions for quarantine and for isolation. Requirements for both vary depending on whether the individual is a student or a university employee.

  • Quarantine is used when a person has potentially been exposed to an illness and needs to separate from other people to see if they develop symptoms.
     
  • Isolation is used when someone has symptoms or is confirmed to have an illness.
Tulane-hosted Quarantine & Isolation Spaces

Students have the option to isolate or quarantine at a Tulane-hosted space or off campus in their own residence. Students may not quarantine or isolate in their residence hall rooms, even if they have a single occupancy room. All students can utilize Tulane facilities for quarantine or isolation, including graduate students and undergraduates living off campus. Strict infection control, cleaning and sanitization processes are in place for these spaces, including limited space access, no common area use and scheduled checks to ensure compliance.

Tulane is providing isolation space for students who have tested positive in Paterson Hall (capacity 110) with attending medical staff and meal delivery.

Tulane is providing quarantine space for students in the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown, where rooms are located in a separate tower of hotel – away from other guests. We will also have a staff member onsite at the Hyatt overnight. While at the Hyatt, students will be asked to quarantine in their rooms. They may leave their rooms to walk the halls of their assigned tower if they like, but they must be masked and practice social distancing. Meals will be delivered, and they will have access to WiFi in order to continue with their coursework.
 
For some the above options may be undesirable. For this reason, some students have chosen to rent an off-campus property. These students are still assigned a case manager and are able to reach out to us for any needs they may have. Some short-term rentals and hotels have guidelines that prohibit renting to individuals who have tested positive or are a close contact of a COVID-19 individual. Please check these guidelines before renting an off-campus property.

Quarantine & Isolation Guidelines

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Louisiana Dept. of Health guidelines call for a symptom-based strategy for releasing individuals from isolation (those who have tested positive for COVID-19) and quarantine (those who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive). Tulane is following these guidelines.

  • Isolation Guidelines: Isolation can end 10 days following the first positive test if the positive individual has been symptom free, without medication, for 24 hours.
     
  • Quarantine Guidelines: A close contact is required to quarantine for 14 days and to monitor symptoms. However, when testing is conducted for a quarantined close contact, it is best done 5-7 days after exposure. A negative test result during quarantine does not change or reduce the quarantine period.

Contact tracers from Campus Health are notified of all COVID-19 positive tests completed through the Tulane System immediately. If students, faculty or staff get tested outside the Tulane System and receive a positive result, it is important to complete a COVID-19 Reporting Form as quickly as possible to notify contact tracers.
 
If you receive a positive result or believe you are a close contact, please isolate/quarantine immediately. You will get follow-up from a contact tracer within 24 hours of reporting your close contact.

To help better understand when you should be in isolation or quarantine, visit the CDC website and this Campus Health guide.

Possible Exposure

If you believe you have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you should quarantine immediately. Do not go to a testing center — contact the Student Health Center or your health provider and wait for guidance. Notify the university immediately regarding your contact by completing the online COVID-19 Reporting Form and someone will contact you with next steps. Please note, a close contact is someone who spent 15 minutes or more, closer than 6 feet, with someone who tested positive.

Returning After Isolation or Quarantine

Determining when to return to campus for class or work, or to be in the company of others, will be based state and local health department and CDC guidance.

The university follows CDC, local and state health department guidance for determining when to return to on-site work or classes. These determinations will be based on discussions with the faculty, staff or student’s health care provider and in accordance with the guidance. For more details, view detailed guidelines on the CDC website.

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Testing FAQs

How do I schedule a screening test at a Testing Center?

Email notices are being sent to prompt test scheduling. You must schedule an appointment and go to the testing center with your QR Code. Do not schedule an appointment if you don’t have a QR code. Please do not call or email Campus Health to schedule a screening test. Email CHTestResults@wave.tulane.edu with questions and a staff member will follow up with you.

When you receive your scheduling notice, please schedule your appointment as soon as possible. Do not wait to schedule until the last minute.

Appointments are required for safety purposes at the Tulane Testing Centers. We have a schedule to allow for social distancing and to manage flow and wait times. Do not visit a testing center without scheduling first.

If you are a student experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to a known case, you should schedule a telehealth visit through the Campus Health Patient Portal or contact your healthcare provider. If you are an employee who is experiencing symptoms, you should contact your healthcare provider.

How do I reschedule/cancel my test?

Please try to keep your scheduled appointment. If you must cancel, use the Campus Health Patient Portal and reschedule for a different time.

When/where do I get my test results?

Test results for asymptomatic testing that takes place through the Tulane Testing Centers, symptomatic testing through the Student Health Center and testing for those in quarantine are processed by the Tulane School of Medicine Laboratory. These results will be returned within 48 hours. You will receive an email and/or phone call with your results.

You can also find your result through the Campus Health Patient Portal.

What if I get a positive result?

If you test positive for COVID-19, Campus Health will help you determine whether to isolate in a university-controlled location or at home. Tulane Contact Tracers will also contact you to determine any close contacts that may need to be notified and determine what areas on campus may need to be disinfected.

If you receive a positive result or believe you are a close contact, please isolate/quarantine immediately. You will get follow-up from a contact tracer within 24 hours of reporting your close contact.

If you receive a positive test from an outside provider, please submit the COVID-19 Reporting Form as soon as possible.

What if I’ve been exposed to COVID-19?

If you believe you have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you should quarantine immediately. Do not go to a testing center — contact the Student Health Center or your health provider and wait for guidance. Notify the university immediately regarding your contact by completing the online COVID-19 Reporting Form and someone will contact you with next steps. Please note, a close contact is someone who spent 15 minutes or more, closer than 6 feet, with someone who tested positive.

What if I’m working/studying remotely?

Faculty, staff and students who are working remotely or are out of state and learning remotely for the entire semester will not be tested. If you fall into this category, please email CHTestResults@wave.tulane.edu to unsubscribe to testing reminders.

Are Tulane’s testing results included in state/city reports?

Results from all testing conducted by Tulane’s Molecular Pathology Lab, including numbers of tests and positive results, is shared with the Louisiana Department of Health and are reflected in state and city reporting.

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