Since Broadies have begun resuming onsite work, we have performed thousands of COVID-19 tests on Broadies. Our positive rate is extremely low, but it is not zero.
When a Broadie tests positive, we follow a process that includes coordinating care for the individual, contact tracing, cleaning, and testing to return to onsite work. To protect confidentiality, the identity of an individual testing positive is shared only with a small number of individuals responsible for coordinating these follow-up actions.
The individual testing positive is advised to notify their physician if they have or develop symptoms; MIT Medical is also available as a backup. They are also given guidance on isolating and HR reaches out to the individual to assist during their isolation period.
Individuals at Broad who were working alongside the positive individual are contacted and told to remain offsite until we can determine whether any exposure met the definition of close contact. MIT Medical advises during those decisions. When fellow group members have been carefully observing the physical distancing rules and wearing surgical masks, this increases the likelihood that they will be cleared to return within a few days.
Individuals not employed by Broad are reminded to follow guidance of their employers or home institutions. Public health agencies are notified of positive results and may conduct contract tracing with respect to an individual’s non-work contacts.
Specific lab or office areas recently used by the person testing positive will receive a deep clean and common areas where the individual was working are also marked for additional cleaning. Deep cleaning may require closure of the affected areas for several hours.
Isolating and returning to onsite work
An individual who has tested positive or been a close contact of someone who has tested positive will works with EHS, HR, and their physician to be cleared to return to work. The timing of an individual’s return varies depending on the situation.
After a positive test, the following are the required isolation times:
- If asymptomatic: Isolate for 10 days.
- If symptomatic: Isolate for at least 10 days from start of symptoms, and until fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications, whichever is longer. CDC defines fever as a temperature above 38C (100.4F).
- If severely ill: Isolate at least 10 days and up to 20 days after symptom onset; work with your physician on return date.
If you have been a close contact of someone who tests positive, you must self-quarantine for 14 days after the last day of exposure.
- Testing may shorten your quarantine period to 10 days after the last day of exposure. If you are able to isolate and you do not develop symptoms during quarantine you can end your quarantine on day 10 but must receive a negative test result (on day 8 or later) prior to returning to work. You will be allowed to come onsite to 415 Main Street on day eight of your quarantine during unstaffed hours only, to test and go directly home. If you receive a negative result, you can then end quarantine on day 10 and return to work (but you should still monitor your symptoms vigilantly).
- If you develop symptoms or test positive, you do not qualify for this shortened quarantine and must self-quarantine according to the guidance above. If it is not possible for you to isolate yourself from the individual who has tested positive (for example, if you are their caregiver), you will need to self-quarantine until they are no longer considered infectious (consult a physician) plus another 14 days. If you develop symptoms or test positive during quarantine, please reach out to the COVID-19 hotline at 617-714-7300 to let us know and obtain additional guidance.
Per current CDC guidance, an individual who has tested positive may return to work following appropriate isolation without testing and should not retest for 90 days. The only exception would be if the individual develops symptoms of COVID-19 and other causes have been ruled out by physicians.
Testing is one plank of our onsite health and safety plan, along with requiring the health and risk questionnaire, physical distancing and reduced density, wearing surgical masks, hygiene and cleaning, and a culture of safety. Close adherence to all of the other components reduces the risk of other Broadies becoming infected or needing to be quarantined.