Positive COVID-19 test reporting and notification information

This message was e-mailed to supervisors on 9/10/2020.

As an employee supervisor, when campus is notified of an employee who tests positive to COVID-19, you will be notified and will be expected to follow the protocols developed by campus. Please carefully review the information which follows regarding Positive COVID-19 Test Reporting and Notification. If you need assistance or have specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact CALS Human Resources via

Thank you,
CALS Human Resources


 General information

UW–Madison has developed protocols for what to do when individuals working, living or learning on campus test positive for COVID-19. This includes contact tracing to notify others who may have been in close contact with a COVID-positive individual, providing necessary cleaning to workspaces and classrooms, and assisting Housing residents who must be isolated or quarantined.

University Health Services (UHS) is the central reporting location for positive COVID-19 reports for UW-Madison employees and students (includes student employees). UHS will automatically receive all results for tests conducted by UW–Madison.  There is no need to report these results. However, all employees who receive a test from public health agencies or health care providers off campus or outside of Dane County are expected to report their positive test results to UHS. UHS will follow up on every confirmed positive COVID-19 test report.

 Protocol for positive COVID-19 test reporting and notification

When UHS receives a positive report from an employee (or has a positive test result that they conducted) they will notify the case manager (OHR) who will then contact:

  • Divisional Disability Representative (DDR) at CALS HR
  • Environment Health & Safety (EHS)

UHS COVID+ reporting hours are seven days a week between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. As of August 13, 2020, these are the hours that you could possibly receive a notification.

UHS will also immediately begin contact tracing to identify and contact individuals who may have been in “close contact” with the employee. If the contact tracers determine an employee was in “close contact” with the COVID+ employee, UHS will provide notification to the employee to give to their supervisor.

Close contact: According to the CDC, a close contact is defined as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. The 15 minutes does not need to be continuous (e.g. three 5-minute periods would count) and wearing a cloth face covering does not completely remove the exposure risk when in close contact.

The DDR is required to notify the supervisor and the Dean within 24 hours of receiving the notice from OHR. This is required whether the employee who tested positive for COVID-19 works onsite or remotely. Chairs/Directors will be copied on the notification to the supervisor.

EHS will work to follow-up with any safety precautions; this can include information from contact tracers. The primary contact for EHS will be the supervisor and/or facility manager(s) though they may also reach out to the DDR if there is a need. If there are questions for EHS, you can email:

*Please note, the below graphic has not been updated yet by campus to reflect a recent change.

For the middle red section, employees tested in Dane County, not on campus, need to report their positive test result to UHS.

Roles and responsibilities

  • Employee
    • Responsible for reporting COVID+ test results if not tested at UHS or campus testing location.
    • To report your test results using the online form, log in to your MyUHS account and click on Messages, select New Message, and then choose COVID-19 Outside Result Reporting. Those who are unable to access the online form can send a secure email to or call 608-890-0000. Additional details are available on the University Health Services website.
      • Do Not Report to the Workplace. Isolate yourself from others:
      • Notify supervisors of absence.
  • Supervisor
    • Responsible for ensuring COVID+ employees are sent home immediately.
    • Coordinates cleaning with EHS, unit staff, and/or HR.  Note: EHS will communicate with the supervisor directly about cleaning requirements and safety protocols. At the request of EHS, the DDR may request additional information about the employee’s presence at the work location(s) to better inform recommendations.
    • Informs Chair/Director of facilities and/or work locations where the affected employee spent time and may need cleaning.
    • Maintains confidentiality of identifying information, e.g. employee name, DOB, and employee ID (also see section below “What you can share with others…”).
    • Consults with the DDR as needed.
  • Chair/Director
    • Will receive same level of notification as supervisor.
    • Oversees facility response (cleaning, closures, etc.) by supervisor with EHS and other unit staff.  Note: EHS will communicate with the supervisor directly about cleaning requirements and safety protocols.
    • Informs other individuals in the unit of a COVID+ case as needed.
    • Maintains confidentiality of identifying information e.g. employee name, DOB, and employee ID (also see section below “What you can share with others…”).
    • Consults with the DDR as needed.
  • Facility Manager
    • Coordinates cleaning and/or closure/safety protocols with supervisor and Chair/Director.
  • Unit Administrator
    • Assists the Chair/Director, Supervisor, or Facility Manager with coordination as needed.

 What you can share with others when you receive a COVID+ report

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allows the institution to require employees to report if they are COVID+ as consistent with business necessity. The ADA does require that this and all medical information be kept confidential and stored in a separate medical file and not the employee’s personnel file. The ADA permits the disclosure of identifying information about potentially contagious employees to supervisors, human resources, and medical and safety personnel who have a legitimate need to know.

  • This COVID Privacy Resource is a quick reference, to help supervisors know what can be shared and with whom.

What happens if an employee was exposed to COVID-19 at the workplace and needs to quarantine?

Employees will receive “need to quarantine notifications” from UHS or public health authorities outside of UHS and Dane County depending on who tested the individual and who is doing the contact tracing. The DDR will follow the same steps in either scenario.

UHS will conduct contact tracing and will communicate directly with an employee if they determined the employee was a close contact with the COVID+ individual and was possibly exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace.

  • The communication directs the employee to share the letter with their supervisor.
  • The communication will also include the DDR URL and will direct the employee to share the information with their DDR for assistance exploring remote work options and/or leave options.

If a person who tests positive for COVID-19 has been working on-site, what steps are taken to clean and disinfect the workplace?

All UW-Madison facilities will be cleaned and disinfected according to established protocols. In addition, if a person who tests positive for COVID-19 has been working on-site, the specific locations where the person spent time will be evaluated by University Health Services (UHS) and Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) in partnership with local staff to determine what cleaning and disinfection is required in accordance with CDC guidance. UHS and Environment Health and Safety (EH&S) will coordinate their efforts and close spaces as needed in advance of required cleaning.

Additional information can also be found on the Facilities Planning and Management (FP&M) website.

Smart Restart Information for Employees

Find information on the following:

  • Health and Safety
  • Reasonable Accommodation, Workplace Flexibilities, and Leave Options
  • Returning to Workplace
    • Returning to On-Site Work After Testing Positive for COVID-19 or Being Exposed to COVID-19
  • Frequently Asked Questions
    • Cleaning and Disinfecting of Workplaces
    • Positive COVID-19 Cases, Exposure, or Symptoms

Smart Restart Campus COVID-19 Testing Results Dashboard

This dashboard provides information to the campus community and the public about the results of COVID-19 tests among current UW–Madison faculty, staff and students.