DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > What happens after someone reports a COVID-19 case?

What happens after someone reports a COVID-19 case?

Classroom of students listening to their instructor
In response to questions about what happens after a COVID-19 case is reported, the DePaul Community Health Team outlines the university's process​ step-by-step. (DePaul University/Randall Spriggs)

To Take Care DePaul, the university requires students, faculty and staff to report a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, either through the university's secure third-party platform or by calling (773) 207-4340.

Many are curious to know, "What happens after a case is reported?"

The Community Health Team shares below its process and the approximate time it takes to complete each step. The contact tracing process is based on guidance outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Chicago Department of Public Health. A case is defined as someone who has been medically diagnosed with COVID-19, not a close contact.

  • Isolate: Immediately after a person receives a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, they go into self-isolation and remain there until certain conditions are met. For more information on the conditions, visit COVID-19 Updates and Guidance FAQs.
    • Approximate completion time: Less than five minutes  

  • Interview with contact tracer: A trained contact tracer reviews the report and reaches out to the confirmed case to gather additional information and determine when they may have been become infectious. They ask for a list of people they were in close physical contact with during the time they were potentially infectious.  
    • Approximate completion time: Within 24 hours after a positive case report is submitted using the university's secure third-party platform or calling (773) 207-4340, not when someone informally notifies faculty or staff.

  • Reach out to close contacts: Following the interview with the confirmed case, contact tracers reach out to close contacts. They are informed they may have been exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19. The case's name and personal information are not shared with close contacts. 
    • Approximate completion time: 24 to 48 hours after the interview with the positive case.

  • Inform classmates and faculty: If a student, faculty or staff member attended an in-person class while potentially infectious, the students enrolled in the class and the course's instructor are emailed with the date of exposure and instructions to get tested. The university does not notify all faculty for each student who tests positive. The case's name and personal information are not shared with close contacts. 
    • Approximate completion time: 24 hours after interview with positive case
    • Please note that this does not mean everyone in the class is a close contact. Because DePaul's classes are at regular capacity, indoors and typically last more than an hour, out of an abundance of caution, we encourage individuals to get tested within three to five days.
  • Report to DePaul's COVID-19 dashboard: The university adds new cases to the university's dashboard when students, faculty or staff are diagnosed with COVID-19 and were on campus while potentially infectious.
    • Approximate completion time: Updated daily at 6 p.m. CST  
Please note approximate completion times may vary. The potentially infectious period is 48 hours prior to symptoms beginning, which may cause a slight delay in notifying others.
To ensure DePaul's contact tracing team best serves those with a confirmed case of COVID-19, students, faculty and staff who may have been exposed to COVID-19, but have not tested positive, should not report it to the university. They should only report confirmed positive cases.

Be sure to continue to regularly visit DePaul's COVID-19 Updates and Guidance website for the most up-to-date information.​