2/4/21 | 4:50 pm | Updated Information on COVID 19 Testing & Control in the Setting of High-Risk COVID-19 Exposures

Testing is an important COVID-19 control measure, but the best measure is to stay home if you are sick!

  • In the setting of a high-risk exposure to COVID-19, testing is performed when symptoms develop.
  • For the individual who remains asymptomatic after a high-risk exposure, we offer testing after the high-risk exposure. Evidence demonstrates that testing too early has a high likelihood of providing a false negative result because the viral load is not yet high enough to convert the test positive.
    • Waiting for symptoms to develop is the most effective method of diagnosing COVID-19 because clinical sensitivity of the test is best after the onset of symptoms.
  • If a non-healthcare worker has a high-risk exposure, the individual or family should quarantine for 10 days from the day of the known exposure if asymptomatic and 7 days with a negative COVID-19 test and asymptomatic. Individuals then must continue to symptom monitor up until the 14 days.
  • If a healthcare worker has a high-risk exposure, the individual should undergo supervised temperature and symptom monitoring for 14 days.
  • Examples of high-risk exposures:
    • living with a COVID-19 positive person
    • being exposed, without masks, to a COVID + individual in close contact (within 6 feet) in a closed environment for more than 15 minutes
    • Risky behaviors including going to bars, restaurants, amusement parks, large family functions (especially when indoor) where social distancing and masking is not observed
  • If you think you need a test call 210 450-8000 
  • Testing after COVID-19 has resolved (10 days after the first symptom and 72 hours symptom-free without use of fever-reducing medication) is NOT RECOMMENDED. The COVID-19 molecular tests detects RNA fragments, not viable virus and the COVID-19 test may remain positive long after the virus is dead in the human body.

Contact Tracing on-campus

  • UT Health Department of Environmental Health and Safety and the School of Nursing Hotline staff will continue on-campus contact tracing following protocols established by the COVID-19 Infectious Disease Team and the Response team.

Prevention Methods

  • Prevention methods include:
    • Masking always when engaging with anyone who does not live in your home
    • Social Distancing – standing or sitting at least six feet from others
    • Reducing trips to public places like markets and grocery stores when possible
    • Cleaning hands frequently, including after touching surfaces, and before and after eating

If an employee has completed the COVID-19 vaccination series, these policies are still applicable and are to be followed.

Article Categories: Critical Daily Updates, Timely Updates