Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile: The team behind the screening process to enter the campuses


The World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health have declared that the testing, traceability and isolation strategy is key to controlling the contagion. Although this work has been fundamentally delegated to Primary Health Care, specialists maintain that in order to achieve meaningful coverage, it is necessary for the institutions to collaborate. The objective ?: to reduce the time gap between the detection of a suspected case and its effective isolation and to keep the entire community informed.

To contribute to this action plan at the national level, the UC traceability initiative was born as a fundamental pillar of the COVID-UC initiative. This project is mainly based on two information streams. The first corresponds to the online UC-health survey , which includes all the people who enter the university facilities, whether they are officials, students, external visitors, collaborators or academics. Through this survey, everyone is integrated into the follow-up strategy, delegated to the team of campus nurses.

The second way to register suspected or confirmed cases is through the number 5000. “All people who are on campus and who detect any type of risk or symptoms during the day can call annex 5000, which is referred directly to through the guards to the campus nurse ”, explains Camila Carvajal, coordinator of the team made up of four nurses and led by Josefina Edwards.

“All the people who are on campus and who detect any type of risk or symptoms during the day can call annex 5000, which is referred directly through the guards to the campus nurse” – Camila Carvajal, team coordinator of nurses.

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Regardless of their status within the university, all people who declare symptoms or any risky behavior associated with COVID-19, enter through these flows to be monitored by nurses, where they receive accompaniment and counseling.

Three possible outcomes after the survey
Carvajal explains that the survey can give three results. Most of the cases are green, that is, they correspond to individuals who do not show any symptoms, nor do they present any risky activity and, therefore, are authorized to enter without any conditions. There is a second exit, which is a precautionary one and is yellow. “These are cases where something is happening that we have to evaluate to follow up – for example, headache or sore throat. The campus nurse will contact them throughout the day to give directions and determine next steps. That is why it is important to place the phone or email ”, he details.

“Reporting symptoms or a risk event is an act of generosity, because not only am I taking care of myself, but I am also taking care of my study group, my work group and my family” – Lilian Ferrer, Vice-Rector for International Affairs , who has spearheaded the COVID-UC initiative from the Senior Management.

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Finally, the survey gives a red exit when the person marks one of the three sentinel symptoms – loss of smell, fever or close contact of a person with covid or positive CRP – and, therefore, should not go to campus and be in isolation. In these cases, the nurses will also contact them to see steps to follow and determine the need for a PCR.

The coordinator of the program emphasizes the importance that the people who respond to the survey do not omit any symptoms and that they allow health personnel, certified in traceability, to help clarify whether or not it may be associated with covid.

To date, 72,380 health declarations have been received to enter UC campuses, including Villarrica. 441 reports have been alert and have required at least one call from the campus nurses and 369 of them have been positive surveys for symptoms or for some risk activity. They have received 72 calls to number 5000.

“The screening survey is not a pass for admission, but rather a declaration of symptoms that allows us to get hooked on a follow-up of health personnel. Declare symptoms or a risk event is an act of generosity because not only am I taking care of myself, but I am also taking care of my study group, my work group and my family ”, clarifies Lilian Ferrer, Vice-Rector for International Affairs, who has led the COVID-UC initiative from the Superior with the support of the entire Community through the COVID Committee.

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