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What To Do If You Have Been Exposed To COVID-19


The following article was updated on Dec. 28, 2021 with new information.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance closely

Lately, we have seen a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases among employees with the arrival of the omicron variant in our area.

Because of the increase in cases during the holidays, we want to provide you with a quick FAQ to go over a few important details:

Cook Children’s Changes Return to Work Policy for Those Infected by the COVID-19 Virus

With the recent surge in omicron cases in our area and throughout our system, we are updating our return to work policy for employees infected with the COVID-19 virus.

The following changes are based on new scientific information from the CDC that “the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after. Therefore, people who test positive should isolate for 5 days and, if asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for 5 days to minimize the risk of infecting others.”

If You Test Positive for COVID-19 (Everyone regardless of vaccination status):

  • Stay home for 5 days.
  • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are getting better after 5 days, you may return to work with or without a negative test.
  • If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever stops for at least 24 hours without fever reducing medications.
  • Continue to wear a well-fitting mask at all times for 5 additional days. If you are a health care personnel who has been fitted for an N-95 mask, we ask that you wear that mask upon your return from infection (for at least the next five days).
  • Please do not eat or drink around others for five days after your return if at all possible. Please wear your well-fitted mask at all times, practice social distancing and frequently wash your hands.

For those who are on quarantine for exposure, we will provide updated information at a later date.

Q: What if I’m fully vaccinated and had an exposure to COVID-19?

If you are fully vaccinated (two doses of Moderna or Pfizer at least two weeks out or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson at least two weeks out) and had an exposure, you may continue to work, while following all safety protocols, such as proper PPE. You do not need to alert Infection Control unless you develop symptoms and/or test positive.

Q: What if I am fully vaccinated and have tested positive for COVID-19?

If you are fully vaccinated and you have been exposed to COVID-19 and tested positive for the virus, you can save time by emailing the COVID team with the below information. You may call the hotline at 682-303-1661 and leave a number, but please be aware the wait times are long. The COVID team will reach out to you as soon as they are able.

You may also send a short email to COVID19OHS@cookchildrens.org. In the email provide the following:

  • Your name, employee number and department where you work.
  • Your phone number.
  • When and where you were exposed to the virus.
  • If and when you started showing symptoms.
  • If you receive a home test that shows you are positive, please send a photo of the results to the email listed above.

What if I am not vaccinated and have had an exposure or tested positive?

Q: If you are not vaccinated, please call 682-303-1661 and leave a phone number and email for someone to reach out to you.

What to do if you are showing symptoms or need someone from Infection Control to call you back?

A: If you are showing symptoms and want to speak to someone, please send your contact information to COVID19OHS@cookchildrens.org or leave a message at 682-303-1661. We ask for your patience in waiting for a reply. Our staff is answering questions as quickly as possible.

Important: When you email or leave a message with your phone number, please answer any phone calls that come your way until you hear back from someone in Infection Control at Cook Children’s. Because of the holidays, we are short staffed and some team members are working from home. A variety of personal phone numbers and numbers from Cook Children’s are calling staff back, so please answer your phone.

What if I have general questions?

A: If you have general questions, please email us at COVID19Questions@cookchildrens.org. If you would like someone to call you back, please leave a return number.