COVID-19 case investigations and contact tracing

June 29, 2023

Please review updated guidelines for contact tracing. 

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Providence Swedish Infection Prevention and Caregiver Health Services focused to reduce transmission of COVID-19 through contact tracing of every case we were made aware of and rapidly isolated infected individuals or advised and coordinated quarantine of those exposed. 

Three years into the pandemic, there has been several impacts on case investigations and contract tracing, including: 

  • High level of vaccination and natural infection induced immunity 
  • Availability of safe and effective vaccines 
  • Increase in self-testing, coupled with decreased participation in self-reporting 
  • Emergences of new variants with shorter incubation time, more rapid transmission and lower virulence 
  • Significant number of asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19 that go undetected 
  • Decreased usage of universal masking 

In consideration of these factors, and in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, contact tracing will be adjusted for COVID-19.  Moving forward resources will be directed at identifying clusters and outbreaks. 

It is still a requirement that caregivers stay home if ill and report illness to Caregiver Health Services. Caregivers must take responsibility to self-report exposures to COVID-19, self-report illnesses and mask when indicated

Caregiver Health Services and Infection Prevention will focus efforts on clusters and outbreaks in order to prevent large scale transmission. 

  1. Not all cases investigated will result in the elicitation and notification of close contacts or contact tracing. 

While viral transmission is currently low in the community, masking is still required during care of high-risk patients and is encouraged for all caregivers

The contact tracing practice is changing. Caregivers are encouraged to assess their personal risk and wear a mask during certain situations (e.g., group gatherings) or particularly if you are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. 

If an outpatient or inpatient has voluntarily masked, out of respect for the patient, the caregiver will don a mask. Post Mask Required Sign.pdf outside door. 

Wear a mask, if an outpatient or inpatient, visitor or another caregiver asks you to wear a mask when providing care for a patient. Post Mask Required Sign.pdf outside door. 

Caregiver Health remains available to our caregivers seven days a week.  

Please contact CHS for questions or concerns. They continue to process caregivers for COVID-19 testing and offer support for safely returning to work after a COVID-19 infection. 

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