Possible staff exposure to inpatients that test positive for COVID-19 after admission:

Patients sometimes test negative for COVID-19 at admission and then test positive later. In these situations, staff members may be concerned that they have had a high-risk exposure.

Definition of a high risk exposure:

  • Performing an aerosol-generating procedure on a COVID-19 positive patient without wearing both a facemask and eye protection.
  • Caring for a patient with COVID-19 without wearing a facemask

Infection Prevention works with managers to assess exposures. With facemasks and eye protection mandatory for all patient encounters, high-risk exposures to patients will be rare. Of note, facemasks plus a face shield are a component of CDC recommended alternatives for personal protective equipment when caring for COVID-19 positive patients.

You will not be routinely notified if a patient you cared for tests positive after an initial negative test. However these cases are carefully reviewed by infection prevention who will reach out to you if a possible high-risk exposure is identified.

If you are concerned that you have experienced a high-risk exposure and have not already been contacted by Infection Prevention or your manager:

  • Talk to your manager or call Infection Prevention at 2-BUGS (x22847)
  • Self-monitor for symptoms as usual
  • Continue to work if you are asymptomatic
  • Take the employee health survey if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 OR are directed to do so by infection prevention or your manager.
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