COVID-19 Glossary

Close Contact
A "close contact" is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated. If the infected person does not have symptoms, then the time frame starts 2 days prior to the person being tested.

Contact Tracers
Contact Tracers are Cowlitz County Health & Human Services employees that are trained to do telephone interview with exposed individuals (close contacts) to inform them a possible exposure has occurred. 

Epidemiological-Curve "epi-curve"
An epidemiological-curve "epi-curve" is a visual display of the onset of illness among cases associated with an outbreak. We learn a lot about outbreaks from an epi-curve, such as time trends (the distribution of cases over time), outliers (cases that stand apart from the overall pattern), and we can make inferences about the outbreak’s pattern of spread. The Cowlitz County epidemiologist uses the data to create an epi-curve a few times each week.

Isolation is used to separate persons who have a communicable disease from those who are healthy. Individuals with symptoms who are lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 and are not sick enough to be hospitalized are directed to care for themselves and isolate at home. If someone is not able to go home to self-isolate (they live with very vulnerable persons, they are homeless, etc.), then there could be a need to find a temporary location for shelter during recovery.   Isolation can and usual IS done at home. 

Notifiable Conditions
In Washington, health care providers, health care facilities, clinical laboratories, veterinarians, and others have responsibilities for reporting suspected or confirmed cases of certain conditions under public health surveillance. Included are specific acute and chronic communicable diseases, occupational asthma, birth defects, blood lead levels, and pesticide poisoning.
Most communicable notifiable conditions are reported to the local health jurisdiction.   For more information go to the Washington State Dept. of Health website, or for a complete list of notifiable conditions, see WAC 246-101.

Protected Health Information (PHI)
PHI is any information about your health status, provision of health care, or payment for health care that is created or collected by CCHHS.   PHI is treated with the utmost confidentiality.  It is held in a secure location and only accessible by public health staff that need the information to contact or follow up with someone in relation to COVID-19. 

Quarantine is usually done at home and is voluntary. Quarantine is used for a person that has been in close contact with someone with a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 while the lab-confirmed case was ill. 

R0  (Pronounced "R Naught"
R0, pronounced “R naught,” is a mathematical term that indicates how contagious an infectious disease is. It’s also referred to as the reproduction number. As an infection is transmitted to new people, it reproduces itself.
R0 tells you the average number of people who will contract a contagious disease from one person with that disease. It specifically applies to a population of people who were previously free of infection and haven’t been vaccinated.
For example, if a disease has an R0 of 18, a person who has the disease will transmit it to an average of 18 other people. That replication will continue if no one has been vaccinated against the disease or is already immune to it in their community. 

Recovered (from COVID-19)
An individual diagnosed with COVID-19 is counted as 'recovered' if, 28 days after symptoms began or a specimen was collected, they are alive and not hospitalized.