Hello Greek Village Residents,
I hope this finds each of you well. We have received several questions about isolation and quarantine moving forward. Dr. Julie Casani, our Director and Medical Director of SHS, has put together this email as a way to answer your questions.
Please share with any and all FSL chapters:
1- If a member has a test as part of our current testing plan for health surveillance, we will act accordingly. Tests performed outside of SHS are communicated to us through the Health Department and may delay action but does not prevent action. In fact the County may institute legal, more restrictive quarantine. Living in a congregate setting like a fraternity and sorority house has been well documented to be an incubator for communicable disease whether COVID or norovirus. Our actions are taken out of an abundance of caution and are meant to protect the other residents of the houses who are not immune.
2- If someone tests newly positive regardless of the timing of previous negative results or the absence of results even in the absence of current symptoms, they will be ISOLATED for 10 days. This can be done in an NC State provided unit or at home but not with friends. The duration of isolation is based on the assumed duration of infectiousness of the individual even in the absence of symptoms. Previous symptoms (more than 3-4 days from the time of the test) in the absence of a positive test can not be relied on as evidence of illness. The symptoms are too vague and generic to many illnesses. Contact with a known positive can add to supposition but does not substitute for evidence. At the end of 10 days, with the resolution of symptoms (if any) and in the absence of fever for 24 hours the person is released from isolation and allowed to return to the residence. Tests may stay positive for 45 days and the person is immune for 90 days. Admittedly, this may result in isolating those that were ill weeks ago but there is no way to prove that in the absence of test results. No retesting is necessary for “clearance” and may, in fact, confuse decisions about returning. Everyone who is placed in isolation receives a secure message through Healthy Pack from me detailing this.
3- Immediate roommates, if they, themselves, have not tested positive within the past 90 days, will be placed in QUARANTINE for 14 days from the date of last contact with the now positive individual. This can be done in an NC State provided unit or at home but not with friends. The duration of 14 days is based on 2 incubation periods. We watch the person in quarantine to ensure that IF they become ill and therefore contagious they do not infect others. Testing does not alter this timeline unless the quarantined individual subsequently tests positive in which case they will be transitioned to isolation. A negative test during quarantine can give some reassurance but it does not affect the duration nor does it guarantee a person will not become ill during this time. Previous quarantines protected them from their last exposure, not the current one. Everyone who is placed in quarantine receives a secure message through Healthy Pack from me detailing this.
4- I am more than happy to talk to students if there are extenuating circumstances and new information but my recommendations are based on solid public health practices and are meant to protect the susceptible individuals in the house and in the community. This will become less of an issue as we test out those with a positive status of indeterminate duration.
Julie Casani, MD, MPH
Adjunct Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
Coordinator, Global Health Minor
Director and Medical Director, Student Health Services
Division of Academic and Student Affairs