Parents: Next Steps If Your Child Tests Positive for COVID-19
It’s important to note what when the Township and/or Berkeley Heights School District has a known COVID case, there are two processes that take place with our Health Officer, Annie McNair, and her staff: contact tracing and case investigation. Read more about contact tracing here.
Case investigation is a longer process in which trained representatives from the Union County Office of Health Management call you to find out exactly who you, or the COVID-positive family member, has been in close contact with, their whereabouts, etc. All information provided to the Office of Health Management is completely confidential and names of positive cases are never provided during the contact tracing process.
Please note: Representatives from the Berkeley Heights Public School District may make preliminary calls to let you know your child may have come into contact with another student who tested positive and advise you to quarantine. In addition, our Berkeley Heights Health Department officials – who are also with Union County – may still need to talk to you. It is imperative that parents and older students return calls from the County health officials to ensure they can do adequate contact tracing and case investigation to stop the spread in our community.
Here is the process that parents need to follow if their student tests positive for COVID-19:
- Request laboratory results from your physician/clinic indicating that your child is positive. It is important that the date the specimen was collected, the type of test (rapid antigen or RT-PCR), and the name of the laboratory testing the specimen are all listed on the report.
- Please call the school attendance office and notify them that your child will be unable to attend school because they have tested positive for COVID-19. It is important that the school is aware of your status so they can assist the local health department with identifying close contacts such as teachers, students in the class, and other personnel if the child is involved in additional activities.
- Please call the Union County Office of Health Management at 908-518-5620 and provide a copy of your laboratory results to them so your child’s information may be entered into the reporting system in a timely fashion.
- If someone in your family is positive, your family will then be called by a Case Investigator from Union County. This process may take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour-and-a-half. The Case Investigator will ask personal information such as your name, address, date of birth, gender, your health care provider, current living situation, number of people in your household, any symptoms, pre-existing conditions, occupation, activities and contact information for any “close contacts.” Therefore, as soon as you test positive, start thinking of your whereabouts in the last 2 weeks. Close contacts are anyone who was within 6 feet of you, for more than 15 minutes cumulatively, or in multiple times within the past 24 hours.
- A contact tracer will then call your contacts and ask them similar demographic questions as the case investigator, as well as provide them with information on how they can protect themselves and their loved ones; for example:
- Understanding their risk
- How they can monitor for illness
- How to prevent spreading the virus (even if they do not feel ill)
- Local support services
For the next 14 days, contacts will receive follow-ups, either through text messaging or phone calls, to monitor their health and further connect them with the support and resources they may need.
Contact tracers will collect minimum data (only what is needed to keep your close contacts safe), use it for limited purposes (stopping the spread of COVID-19), and restrict who it is shared with.
Using Technology to Slow the Spread
COVID Alert NJ is a free and secure mobile phone app that can anonymously alert users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
It will also provide users with up-to-date information on NJ reopening news, key COVID-19 metrics, and a user-friendly symptom tracking tool.