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General COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is a disease caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. It can be very contagious and spreads quickly. Over one million people have died from COVID-19 in the United States.

COVID-19 most often causes respiratory symptoms that can feel much like a cold, the flu, or pneumonia. COVID-19 may infect more than your lungs and respiratory system. Other parts of your body may also be affected by the disease. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people become severely ill.

Some people including those with minor or no symptoms will develop Post-COVID Conditions – also called “Long COVID.”

Possible symptoms include:

  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Fever or chills
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Eye infections

COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. Other people can breathe in these droplets and particles, or these droplets and particles can land on their eyes, nose, or mouth. In some circumstances, these droplets may contaminate surfaces they touch.

Anyone infected with COVID-19 can spread it, even if they do NOT have symptoms.

Age is the strongest risk factor for severe COVID-19 outcomes. Patients with one or multiple of certain underlying medical conditions (ex. asthma, cancer, diabetes, pregnancy, etc.) are also at higher risk. Additionally, being unvaccinated or not being up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations also increases the risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes.

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are available through the Bengal Pharmacy. Appointments can be scheduled by calling (208) 282-3407 or by visiting the Bengal Pharmacy website.

For a complete list of know risk factors associated with higher risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms, please see the CDC's webpage "Underlying Medical Conditions Associated with Higher Risk for Severe COVID-19: Information for Healthcare Professionals"

  • Staying Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Improving Ventilation and Spending Time Outdoors
  • Moving indoor activities outdoors
  • Getting Tested for COVID-19 when sick or after exposure
  • Following Recommendations for What to Do If You Have Been Exposed
  • Staying Home When You Have Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19
  • Seeking Treatment Early If You Have COVID-19 and Are at High Risk of Getting Very Sick
  • Avoiding Contact with People Who Have Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19
  • Additional Actions You Could Take:
    • Wearing Masks or Respirators
    • Increasing Space and Distance

See the CDC's webpage "How to Protect Yourself and Others" for more in-depth information.

If you have COVID-19 and are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, treatments are available that can reduce your chances of being hospitalized or dying from the disease. Medications to treat COVID-19 must be prescribed by a healthcare provider and started as soon as possible after diagnosis to be effective. Contact a healthcare provider right away to determine if you are eligible for treatment, even if your symptoms are mild right now.

Most treatments need to be started within 5 days from when your symptoms start.

When treatments are started early they can greatly reduce the severity of COVID symptoms usually within 48 hours of starting treatment.

For a current list of approved COVID-19 treatments please see the CDC's "COVID-19 Treatments and Medications" webpage.


COVID-19 Guidance If You...

Stay home and isolate for at least five full days, regardless of vaccination status.

  • If you are symptomatic, you can end isolation five full days after your symptoms started if your symptoms are improving AND you are fever free without the use of fever reducing medication.
  • If you have a weakened immune system, consult your doctor before ending isolation.
  • If you do not have symptoms, you can end isolation five full days after a positive test result.

When you leave isolation, wear a high-quality, tight-fitting mask around others for the next five days (N95 or KN95 type preferred).

Stay home and isolate until you are able to take a COVID test, regardless of vaccination status

Take a COVID-19 test right away. PCR tests are more accurate; rapid antigen home tests have a higher likelihood of a false negative result and are more reliable if two tests are performed 48 hours apart. You can test again immediately if you go to your doctor and get a follow- up PCR test.

For more information about the different types of COVID tests, and how to best time your COVID test, go to the CDC's "COVID-19 Testing: What You Need to Know" website

If you test positive, follow the "Test Positive for COVID-19" guidance above

If you test negative for COVID using a:

  • Lab-based PCR test
    • The likelihood you have COVID is very low (less than 2%). You should be okay to carry on with normal daily activity. You might consider wearing a mask still to protect others from the illness you are experiencing.
  • Rapid COVID antigen test
    • These tests are less accurate than PCR tests and can miss COVID infections depending on when you get tested or test yourself.
    • Keep isolating at home until you have received at least  2 negative antigen tests spaced 48 hours apart or you received a negative PCR test.
    • If either the second antigen test comes back positive or the PCR test comes back positive, you have COVID. Continue to isolate and follow the "Test Positive for COVID-19" guidance above.

You do NOT need to isolate as long as you are not experiencing symptoms.

Monitor for COVID Symptoms for 10 days from your last interaction with someone who had COVID-19 (see above for a list of common symptoms).

Immediately begin wearing a mask of high quality and that fits snuggly around the face when around others or in indoor spaces. You should wear a mask for the next 10 days (N95 or KN95 type recommended).

Get tested for COVID on day 6 after your last contact with the individual with the COVID infection.

If you develop even mild symptoms, follow the "Have Symptoms of COVID-19" guidance above.


Campus Resources

If you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

For health related questions please reach out to the ISU Health Center by email: healthcenter@health.isu.edu, or via phone: (208) 282-2330.

If you need to be seen by a medical provider call the Health Center or schedule an appointment through the Health Center portal

You can also find the latest health information for COVID-19 by navigating to the CDC's COVID-19 website

If your department or program is being impacted by COVID-19 please reach out to the University Health Center for a mitigation plan.

For questions regarding N-95 masks, OSHA compliance, and environmental safety concerns please reach out to the Environment Health Safety & Sustainability office (EHSS). You can reach EHSS at (208) 282-2310 or by emailing EHS@isu.edu.

If you are looking for supplies to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19, please reach out to Bengal Depot. Their phone number is (208) 282-3515 and their email is bengaldepot@isu.edu. They also have a COVID specific order form that you can use to order masks, disinfectants, hand sanitizer, and gloves.