Faculty, Postdocs & Staff – Testing Positive, Quarantine & Isolation

Testing Positive

After testing positive, those who test positive through the Penn Cares Testing Program will be contacted by the Penn Cares contact tracing team and will be provided clinical and public health guidance.

If you test positive for COVID-19 from an at-home test, you can refer to the most up-to-date public health guidance. If you need additional guidance, assistance with clinical care, or advice about contact tracing and notification of close contacts, you can reach our team via email at covidtesting@upenn.edu or by phone at 215-898-0300.

Contact Tracing

A contact tracer will follow-up with anyone who tests positive through the Penn Cares Testing Program to provide guidance on isolation and to make sure they receive the needed healthcare. The contact tracer will also ask about activities leading up to infection and the contacts they may have had. These conversations are thorough, nuanced, and require collaboration between the individual and contact tracer.

Contact tracers are also available to answer questions or provide guidance to anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 outside of Penn’s testing program or on an at-home test. Contact tracers can help provide access to additional resources across campus or simply put your mind at ease after you have tested positive. They can be reached at 215-898-0300.

The notification of contacts is performed without identifying the source and notifies others who have had a high-risk exposure. Contact tracers notify individuals of their exposure via phone or secure message.

Close contacts are identified as housemates, roommates, intimate partners, and those who spent 15+ minutes within 6 feet of a confirmed case during their infectious period. 

In the case of clinical and lab settings, PPE often mitigates the risk of proximity and length of exposure. In these cases, the contact tracing team will ask very detailed questions about these interactions to ensure the appropriate risk is assigned. These risk levels vary as public health guidance changes. Working collaboratively with the contact tracer is critical.

Quarantine and Isolation

Visit the Public Health Guidance page for up-to-date information about quarantine and isolation guidance. 

Per the recent update from the CDC regarding quarantine guidance, individuals who have a high-risk exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, are not required to quarantine and are permitted to go to work while masked. Those with an exposure should test immediately and then again five days after exposure. They should continue to monitor for symptoms and wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask for 10 days post-exposure. If symptoms present, they should test immediately. 

Isolation means staying at home, alone in your bedroom, except to use the bathroom. All people in isolation should order food in or ask a friend/family member/roommate to drop off groceries or a meal. Masks or facial coverings must be worn anytime you are outside of the bedroom. Do not travel, go to class, to work, or participate in any social activities. Do not host friends or gatherings. Do not attend gatherings.

University faculty, postdocs, and staff are asked to follow proper public health guidance and to follow up with their primary care physician if they are feeling unwell or their symptoms worsen.