The Georgia Department of Public Health and University System of Georgia institutions will share some contact tracing responsibilities, according to a July 21 document on the DPH’s COVID-19 guidance for USG.
This contradicts the university’s previous statement that contact tracing would remain the responsibility of the DPH, which UGA spokesperson Greg Trevor said in an email on July 13.
The University of Georgia announced on July 22 it plans to test 300 student, faculty and staff volunteers daily to identify virus transmission trends, and the University Health Center will test symptomatic students. The university will report all tests it conducts to DPH, according to the guidance document.
The university said in its announcement symptomatic faculty and staff should contact their primary care provider for testing options.
COVID-19 positive or sick people may not return to campus until they meet the DPH’s return to school guidance, according to the document. The institution’s COVID-19 point of contact should notify their health district’s point of contact.
Dr. Garth Russo will serve as UGA’s COVID-19 point of contact, while Olivia Echols and Robert Hamilton serve as the local health district’s points of contact, according to the document. They will coordinate contact tracing and guidance.
Russo will report any cases to the DPH and conduct an initial case interview of the person who tested positive or is presumed positive. He will notify any close contacts they “had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 and they should stay home or in designated quarantine living quarters and self-monitor for symptoms,” according to the guidance document. This includes anyone living in the same household, caring for a sick person with COVID-19, being within 6 feet of anyone with COVID-19 for about 15 minutes or coming in direct contact with secretions from someone with COVID-19.
When he contacts DPH, Russo will include a list of classes attended within two days of showing symptoms or a positive test result and a list of attendees in those classes, according to the document. If the person worked on campus, Russo will include supervisor information and a list of employees who worked physically close with the person or shared the same space.
The DPH will conduct a more thorough case interview and investigation. If public health receives notification of a case from outside UGA, the DPH will contact Russo, according to the document.
UGA hasn’t announced they will require students to test negative before coming back to campus this fall. Yet the DPH recommends students traveling from a country with widespread transmission as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should be quarantined for 14 days and follow the same guidance as if they had close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus, according to the document.
It’s unclear how international students will quarantine if they live in dorms because the earliest residence hall move-in date is Aug. 14 and classes start Aug. 20.