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Trace:
COVID-19 Community Response Plan

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is the process of identifying persons who may have come into contact with a presumed or confirmed COVID-19 patient and the subsequent collection of further information about these contacts. Per Los Angeles County Department of Public Health requirements, Pepperdine must conduct contact tracing for its community. Therefore, Pepperdine has hired and trained personnel to conduct contact tracing for all positive cases of COVID-19 in the faculty, staff, and student communities in line with County requirements. This process is designed to rapidly identify potential exposures while appropriately respecting confidentiality.

Notification to Positive Case

If a test is conducted by the Student Health Center, after notifying the patient of the positive test results, the University's COVID-19 Community Response Team will initiate the contact tracing process.

For positive test results received outside of the Student Health Center, the patient should immediately report the positive result to the COVID-19 Community Response Team to begin the contact tracing process.

Tracing Process

Contact tracers will then conduct an interview with the positive case to identify those at high risk for contracting COVID-19 due to recent exposure. Those at high risk include close contacts, who are identified individuals who were within six feet of the documented case during their contagious period for more than 15 minutes during a 24-hour period. The contagious period is defined as 48 hours prior to the symptoms developing or 48 hours prior to a positive test result. Pepperdine may extend this period to be conservative, when appropriate and feasible.

Contact tracers identify and communicate with close contacts in order to obtain information and advise what recommendations to follow regarding but not limited to, quarantine, criteria for transition to isolation, and access to testing (if applicable). If any close contacts test positive immediately or during quarantine, this person will be transferred to isolation, and a new tracing process will begin for the subsequent positive case. Others identified to be potentially exposed, but not meeting CDC criteria for close contacts needing quarantine, may be contacted and asked to self-monitor for 14 days and notify the COVID-19 Community Response Team if they begin to develop symptoms.

Reporting Guidance

The Reporting Guidance for faculty and staff has been finalized and shared with all faculty, staff, and supervisors for contact tracing purposes at the University; this protocol outlines the responsibilities of employees, supervisors, and the University COVID-19 Community Response Team contact tracers regarding tracking COVID-19 related illnesses and symptoms within the University community.

This section outlines protocols for employees and supervisors in various scenarios, including:

When an employee is ill:

  • The supervisor notifies the COVID-19 Community Response Team contact tracers within 90 minutes of learning his/her faculty/staff member called out sick; the supervisor then gathers additional information from the employee about the illness (whether or not he/she exhibits COVID-19 symptoms).
  • The employee contacts his/her Primary Care Provider (PCP) and then follows up with the COVID-19 Community Response Team contact tracer to provide information from the PCP and receive direction on next steps.

When an employee has an ill family member or close contact:

  • The supervisor notifies the COVID-19 Community Response Team contact tracer within 90 minutes of learning his/her faculty/staff member's family member/close contact is ill; the supervisor then gathers additional information from the employee about the illness (whether or not the family member/close contact exhibits COVID-19 symptoms).
  • The employee contacts his/her Primary Care Provider (PCP) and then follows up with the COVID-19 Community Response Team contact tracer to provide information from the PCP and receive direction on next steps.

When an employee makes a report about another employee:

  • The supervisor of the reporting employee gathers information from the reporting employee and then notifies either the COVID-19 Community Response Team contact tracer (if the person of concern is a student) or the supervisor of the employee of concern.
  • The supervisor of the employee of concern follows the appropriate protocol above to gather information and communicate with the COVID-19 Community Response Team contact tracer.
  • All employees are responsible to follow all public health directives from the University. Faculty and staff must cooperate with and follow the directions of the COVID-19 Community Response Team contact tracer (including contacting their Primary Care Provider for testing and recommendations, among others).

Coordination with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

In compliance with established protocols, the University will continue to coordinate closely with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, which will work with the University as appropriate to monitor conditions, identify potential trends or hot spots, and recommend subsequent action.

Contact Tracing and Phishing Scams

Contact tracing scams have been observed wherein people pretending they are performing COVID-19 contact tracing may call, visit, write, or email in an effort to get information or money from you. Pepperdine and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health may call, email, and write to people who have COVID-19 and people who they may have been in contact with but, rest assured, they will never request a social security number, financial information, or money. Learn more about contact tracing scams on the L.A. County Public Health COVID-19 Scams and Fraud webpage.

For questions, please contact the COVID-19 Information Line at covid19info@pepperdine.edu or 310.506.8111.