Response procedure To positive covid-19 test result

Updated Sept. 10, 2021

Guiding principles

  1. All notifications of positive cases should be sent to OHN@ucalgary.ca.
  2. Ministry of Health and Community Health Services expectations and requirements will be understood and met or exceeded in our response actions.
  3. The response procedure will take into account privacy considerations for person(s) testing positive.
  4. Communication of positive cases to the campus community will be as open as possible while respecting privacy of person(s) testing positive.

Introduction

Specific response actions will vary depending on who tests positive (faculty/staff, grad student, undergrad student) and where their work or study locations are on campus.

Positive tests include PCR testing and rapid antigen testing unless the individual receives a follow-up negative PCR test after a rapid antigen test.

Multiple Cases will likely be reported to the University on an individuals who test positive. With each case reported to the University verification will occur, the work/study location and the history of common spaces visited by the individual will be entered onto a case log spreadsheet and reviewed by Staff Wellness to determine:

  1. If there were common locations attended by the positive cases which may result in additional or expanded spaces isolated and disinfected.
  2. If there is reason to believe there was community transfer on campus in which case an investigation will be conducted by EHS to determine how that may have happened and what actions should be taken to prevent recurrence.

Procedure

Notifications

All notifications of positive cases should be sent to OHN@ucalgary.ca. People who have tested positive for covid-19 should complete the questionnaire to assist with contact tracing.

The following further notifications will take place immediately, on the conclusion of the case investigation:

  • If the person is an employee, Staff Wellness will notify the employee’s supervisor and be provided with information of actionable steps to be taken if needed.
  • If the person is a student, Staff Wellness will notify relevant student stakeholders (class instructor for example) with information of actionable steps to be taken if needed. 
  • Student Wellness is available to provide health and other supports to a student if needed. sphi@ucalgary.ca should be contacted by the case officer with these types of requests.
  • Environment Health and Safety and Campus Security will be notified.

The Team Lead—Occupational Health, Staff Wellness will serve as the University’s Case Officer who will manage the response to all positive cases, ensuring that the steps described in this procedure occur and confirming completion.  If any barriers are encountered in the execution of this procedure the Case Officer will escalate the issue to the Director of Emergency Management.

Immediate action

The following immediate actions will be taken:

Isolation and Disinfecting

  • The locations immediately known to be occupied by the person testing positive (workstation, lab, residence room, etc.) will be isolated.  The workstations in the vicinity of the workstation of the person testing positive will also be isolated to promote privacy of the person testing positive.
  • Enhanced disinfecting of isolated areas by University group with responsibility for cleaning/disinfecting those specific areas will occur.  Enhanced disinfection is a more thorough disinfection procedure than the procedure currently carried out daily as part of cleaning of common spaces.
  • Enhanced disinfection in labs will be carried out by lab staff.  When the need for enhanced disinfection in a lab arises, the Case Officer will provide the lab staff with a procedure and training on the procedure.
  • Campus Security will support with containment and control of area.

Information Gathering

  • Staff Wellness will initiate tracking of the person during their infectious period on campus.  This will include common areas that the person visited and who the person interacted with. HR may be used as a resource for staff tracking.  The practices for collecting information on the whereabouts and contacts of a person will be consistent with guidance that has been obtained from the FOIP Coordinator, Legal Services.
  • The AVP Facilities Management and Director Operations & Maintenance will be notified of the building and rooms occupied by the COVID-positive individual. Staff Wellness will review exposure risk, with support of AHS if necessary, to determine if there is risk to facilities staff (identified by AVP and Director) who may have entered or worked in the spaced occupied by the positive individual.
  • The Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer will be notified of the building and rooms occupied by the COVID-positive individual. Staff Wellness will review exposure risk, with support of AHS if necessary, to determine if there is risk to facilities staff (identified by CIO and CTO) who may have entered or worked in the spaced occupied by the positive individual.

Additional actions based on information gathering

The tracking conducted by Staff Wellness will determine common spaces visited on campus by the person going back two days prior to the University’s notification of the positive test.   These common spaces will include food service locations, meeting rooms, classrooms, lecture halls, and study areas.  Actions taken based on this tracking will be:

  • Contacting close contacts of the positive individual, based on AHS criteria of a “close contact”, and providing isolation and quarantine instructions based on the vaccination status of the close contacts.
  • All common, class and workspace areas attended by the positive case for a prolonged period of time will receive enhanced disinfection beyond the normal daily disinfection protocols for common areas.
  • Spaces can be re-occupied one hour after enhanced disinfection but will typically remain out of service until the next day unless the disinfection is done early in the day and there is a significant demand for the space.

Individual attending classes/labs with person testing positive

Students, Staff, and Faculty who attended a class or lab with a positive case during that person’s infectious period will be notified of the positive case and provided with recommendations based on current AHS and UCalgary guidance. This notification will be written by the Occupational Health Team, Staff Wellness and will be either sent directly to the attendees or through the department.

Shutting down a building or a campus

There is no external guidance for what would trigger shutting down part of a campus due to an outbreak.  Normally, if a few cases were identified in a building then the locations requiring enhanced disinfection based on this procedure would be disinfected and then reopened.

A decision to shut down a facility would be based on a large number of cases over a short period of time.  Proposed triggers for the CMT to review an outbreak and response measures including potential facility shutdown are:

  • Building Shutdown:  Five positive, linked cases identified in a single building over a week.
  • Campus Shutdown:  Thirty positive, linked cases identified on a campus over a week.

One of the factors that would support a decision for shutting down would be community transfer in a building or on campus that could not be explained based on contact tracing.  The MOH would be contacted for advice on response measures based on these triggers.

Communication

The campus community will be notified through the COVID-19 Dashboard as soon as possible of:

  • Identify the building(s) affected and any closures
  • Outline the response actions including contact tracing and enhanced disinfection
  • Remind of COVID-19 protocols