COVID-19 Update from Dean Grooms

August 31, 2020

To the CVM Community,

As you are aware, positive cases of COVID-19 are increasing not only in Story County but at Iowa State University. To date, a total of 17 positive cases have been reported to the College of Veterinary Medicine among our faculty, staff, students and student workers since the beginning of March. We have evidence that supports the majority of these cases resulted from exposure to COVID-19 outside of the CVM complex.

This increased number of positive cases at ISU and in Story County will also increase the potential exposures each of us face. I’m sure you all have questions about what you should do if you believe you have come into contact with an individual who has tested positive or are notified.

Each positive case reported to Iowa State University will trigger a case investigation by the ISU Public Health Team. Please note that this process can take a couple of days to complete as investigators gather all the pertinent information. Beginning today, a significant number of case investigators have been added to the Public Health Team to speed up the process.

There has been some concern and misunderstanding of what the Public Health Team will consider as an exposure to a positive COVID case. Individuals must meet all three of the following CDC criteria to be considered exposed… (1) must have been with 6 feet for (2) at least 15 continuous minutes with a (3) confirmed positive individual. Please note that this contact is regardless of whether face coverings were used or not. Here is a graphic describing COVID-19 exposure.

The time period of concern for exposure starts either two days before the individual testing positive started to have clinical signs or two days before the individual testing positive was tested (the date of when the sampling occurred, not the notification of the test result).

Please note that individuals will be considered exposed when they receive notification from a public health official. You are not considered exposed until the contract tracing team, who will contact you, determines such exposure. Here is a link to classroom contracting notification procedure.

Individuals confirmed by the public health team as exposed to COVID-19 will be asked to quarantine for 10 to 14 days. Fourth-year students with clinical rotations in the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center, the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and Veterinary Field Services as well as some faculty and staff are considered essential workers and are expected to continue to report to work if they are not showing symptoms and are awaiting test results. Those individuals are expected to quarantine for 14 days for other non-work activities. All other individuals including fourth-year students on any external experience and other veterinary students are not considered essential workers and must quarantine for 14 days if they have been determined to be exposed by the Public Health Team.

Attached are additional documents that further explain this process. If you have any questions please send an email to cvmcovid@iastate.edu.

I know that as medical professionals we are all continuing to practice the mitigation principles to prevent spread of COVID-19. Please continue to wear your face coverings both in the college and throughout the Ames community. Please avoid large group gatherings. Limit your contact with co-workers and classmates to more than six feet and less than 15 minutes if at all possible. Finally, use the daily Cyclone Care Symptom Checker to determine if you are displaying symptoms. If you do, please stay home and get tested.

Thank you. Stay safe.

Dan Grooms, DVM, PhD
Dr. Stephen G. Juelsgaard Dean of Veterinary Medicine