With fall semester riddled with new coronavirus restrictions and guidelines, there is one question that is on the mind of every student: “What will happen if I get COVID-19?”
Professor of Nursing Sarah Neal, the leader of the COVID-19 task force, has helped develop a detailed plan for when AU students are exposed to COVID-19 or test positive for the virus.
“If a person has been exposed, then they are going to contact me,” said Neal. “I will ask them to quarantine for 14 days, and we have Tara East apartments set up for isolation and quarantine.”
Neal also noted that there is an important difference between isolation and quarantine. She explained that isolation is for students who are sick, but quarantine is for people who have been exposed to a sick person.
“Isolation will last for 10 days, but quarantine lasts 14 days,” Neal said. “We know that the virus can be in a person’s body incubating for that amount of time, so that is why they will have to quarantine for 14 days.”
According to Neal, if a student lives close enough to campus to drive home, they will have the option to quarantine or isolate at home or on campus. Students who choose to quarantine on campus will be quarantined in Tara East apartments or on the top floor of Morrison Hall.
The top floor of Morrison Hall is reserved for students who have been exposed to the virus, while Tara East will be divided between students who have tested positive and those who have been exposed.
Neal discussed the steps that students need to take if they begin experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
“If they wake up with a fever or they just start feeling poorly, the first thing they need to do is stay in place and call Health Services,” said Neal. “Health Services will do a telehealth visit with them and determine if they need to go get swabbed. We have various locations in the county they can go to get swabbed and even if they are waiting on their test results they still need to be in isolation.”
Neal explained that it could take up to a week to get the results back, so it is important to still be isolated to prevent spreading the virus to others. According to Neal, on average, every one person infects two to three other people.
“When people get a really good handle on it, the idea is to get the spread down to less than one person for each infected person, and that’s what we are working towards,” said Neal.
Neal advises students to visit anderson.edu/coronavirus to report things such as experiencing symptoms, testing positive for the virus and being exposed to the virus, as well as ask questions about COVID-19.