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Consultation services help IU leaders with COVID-19 contact tracing questions

Jan 25, 2021

Indiana University offers consultation services for department heads and other university leaders who need quick answers to administrative questions about IU’s contact tracing policies and best practices when someone tests positive for COVID-19 or is exposed to the virus.

COVID-19 safety imagery used in IU signs
IU offers consultation services to help university leaders with COVID-19 contact tracing policies and practices.Graphic provided by Capital Planning and Facilities

IU, through its COVID-19 Medical Response Team, has established its own independent contact tracing program with nearly 40 dedicated staff members. The centralized program serves the entire IU community across all campuses. Contact tracing should not be performed by individual campuses or units.

For questions that require a response within 24 hours, email to reach one of three project managers within IU’s contact tracing program: Theresa Vernon, Michael Tani-Eshon or Tony Easton.

For an immediate response in an emergency situation, contact the IU Call Center at 812-855-4848. Call center employees are trained to respond to most questions related to contact tracing but can also quickly escalate questions to members of IU’s Medical Response Team or leaders in IU’s contact tracing program.

Be prepared to share the following information when seeking a consultation:

  • Name, administrative title and contact information.
  • IU campus, department and specific location.
  • Details about the concern/question.
  • Full names and email address of individuals (confirmed positive case, close contacts, etc.) involved in the query.

“We’re here to answer your questions and talk through situations, from one human being to another,” said Vernon, one of IU’s contact tracing program managers. “This pandemic is scary, and it can definitely cause fear and concern. We’re here to help alleviate that concern with a human-to-human conversation by talking through the best course of action to make sure everyone involved is safe.”

Contact tracing works by quickly reaching out to individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 to provide instructions to isolate effectively. During the contact tracing interview, close contacts of the infected person are identified; they will be contacted with instructions for quarantine and symptom monitoring.

“IU’s contact tracers only notify individuals who are identified as close contacts by the COVID-positive person,” said Dr. Adrian Gardner, director of contact tracing for the IU Medical Response Team and director of the IU Center for Global Health. “During the interview, contact tracers help those infected to identify close contacts based on a review of their activities during their infectious period. We won’t notify or quarantine entire offices, labs, units, departments or buildings of a COVID-positive individual, as this has not been proven to be an effective way of halting transmission of the virus.”

However, if someone is concerned that they were missed as a close contact (or was a close contact of someone outside the IU community), a self-reporting form is available at One.IU. Additionally, during a contact tracing interview, the positive individual is asked to provide a list of locations visited during their infectious period. For any on-campus location visited within the previous 72 hours, a deep clean is ordered and completed.

Information from contact tracing interviews is confidential and is used only for public health and safety purposes.

Media Contact

IU Newsroom

Bethany Nolan

Interim Manager, Internal Communications

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