Effective Date: 
Mon, 01/04/2021
Mon, 06/14/2021
Mon, 09/27/2021

Case Investigation, Contact Tracing, Isolation and Quarantine are components of a comprehensive strategy to help protect students, faculty, and staff and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  

Definitions  (as they pertain to this policy):

Case Investigation:  the identification and investigation of patients with confirmed or probable diagnoses of COVID-19 with the intention of  preventing the spread of communicable disease 

Contact Tracing:   the identification, monitoring, and support of contacts who have been exposed to, and possibly infected with, the COVID-19 virus with the intention of preventing the spread of communicable disease

Isolation:  the separation of a person or group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with the COVID-19 virus and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent spread of the communicable disease 

Quarantine: the separation and restriction of movement of persons who, while not yet infected with COVID-19, have been exposed to COVID-19 and therefore may become infectious. Quarantine measures help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by separating these individuals from others

UCSC Affiliates:  currently active UCSC staff, students and faculty

SHS COVID Team:  a trained team led by the Medical Director that includes the Campus COVID Nurse, RNs, Case Managers and other staff as needed,  to facilitate Case Investigation, Contact Tracing, Isolation and Quarantine management and tracking

Close Contacts:  individuals in close contact with a positive case of COVID-19 as defined by regulatory agencies 


Per CA State regulations, local health departments are responsible for leading case investigations, contact tracing, and outbreak investigations.  Due to the large number of COVID-19 cases reported to the Santa Cruz County Health Department, the local health department’s limited resources, and in response to how easily and quickly COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) can spread, a partnership was developed between Santa Cruz County Public Health Department and UCSC SHS.  This partnership supports the best possible use and sharing of resources to aid in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in the local community.  Under the terms of this partnership, UCSC SHS, initiates Case Investigation and Contact Tracing for UCSC affiliates that have tested positive for COVID-19 at one of the UCSC campus testing locations and then report these findings to the Santa Cruz County Public Health Department.  Information about non-UCSC affiliates, collected in the course of these investigations is forwarded to the Santa Cruz County Public Health Department – UCSC is not responsible for notification or tracking of non-UCSC affiliates.  Once UCSC staff and faculty have been notified of their positive results, tracking and other processes are covered under broader campus protocols; the remainder of this policy pertains specifically to UCSC students.



For on-campus testing, a positive COVID-19 result is received by SHS via the Electronic Medical Record (EMR).  The Medical Director or designee notifies the patient of the positive result, assesses symptoms, risk, work location,  educates and assesses isolation capabilities, and informs them to expect a Contact Tracer call shortly.

Off campus test results are received in several ways – including from supervisors for student workers and employees, directly from the patient, Health Department notifications.  Students in these cases are contacted by a member of the SHS COVID Team to ascertain symptoms, acuity, risk, work location, educate and assess isolation capabilities and resource needs, and initiate Contact Tracing if indicated.

Contact Tracing for UCSC students is performed by a member of the SHS COVID Team based on standards set by regulatory agencies.  Results are documented in the EMR and forwarded to the County Public Health Department with the required Confidential Morbidity Report (CMR).  Close Contacts that are UCSC students are notified that they are a close contact, educated and assessed for quarantine capabilities or other needs.  UCSC employees who are identified as close contacts are referred to the campus Assistant Director of Workers' Compensation and their PCPs for next steps.  For identified Close Contacts that are not UCSC affiliates, the case patient is instructed to notify the contacts directly. 

Isolation and Quarantine guidelines are determined by Federal, State and Local agencies and evolve as data is collected.  UCSC SHS follows the most current guidelines as set by these agencies.  Students that require assistance with housing, food or other Isolation or Quarantine concerns are referred to a campus team including representatives from housing, dining, Dean of students office, and transportation.  On-campus Isolation and Quarantine housing and food service is available to students living both on and off campus.  On-campus students are required to move to on-campus designated Isolation or Quarantine housing per campus protocol.

During the time students are in Isolation or Quarantine, they are monitored by the SHS COVID team for symptom development, acuity, and other needs.   The team meets regularly to review cases.  Students are expected to complete a daily Isolation or Quarantine survey; results of these surveys help monitor symptoms and acuity.  Clearance from Isolation or Quarantine is determined by current guidelines set by regulatory agencies.  

Requests by student or guardian for repeat PCR testing to rule out a false positive or verify a true positive will not be granted. Per consult with Santa Cruz HSA, COVID-19, false positives are extremely rare and the risk of a repeat test having a false negative could endanger the community. 

As the situation evolves, the most current process instructions can be accessed via the electronic medical record references and the shared documents.