What should I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19?
Any COVID-19 symptoms are assumed to be due to COVID-19 and are treated as such until a medical professional determines otherwise.
If you are symptomatic or test positive, you should:
- Go home immediately to self-isolate.
- Report the illness by completing this form
- Notify your supervisor or a faculty member of any areas on campus that you had close contact with anyone (including the entire time period from 72 hours before becoming symptomatic to the time you first self-isolated). Faculty members and supervisors should email this information to email@example.com. Faculty members and supervisors should NOT notify their classes, departments, or other individuals of the suspected or confirmed case without direction from the health committee.
- Contact your primary care provider via phone to determine the need for testing for COVID-19. If you do not have a primary care provider, contact University Health at (208) 282-2330 (Idaho Falls, Pocatello or Twin Falls) or Unity Health (208) 895-6729 (Meridian)
- Follow the recommendations provided by your health care provider.
- Participate in contact tracing and follow recommendations provided by the local health department or University COVID-19 Health Committee.
- Refer to specific guidance for students, faculty and staff.
I have tested positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms and didn’t get tested. When can I return to usual activities including on campus activities?
|Symptomatic (you are ill) (Positive or no COVID-19 Test)||Asymptomatic (you have no symptoms) (Positive COVID-19 Test)|
|Maintain Isolation Until:
at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
3 days with no fever
respiratory symptoms have markedly improved (e.g. cough, shortness of breath)
|Maintain Isolation Until:
10 days have passed since the test was performed
What should I do if I believe I was exposed to COVID-19?
Exposure means you were closer than 6 feet for more than 10 minutes to someone with known COVID-19 or someone with symptoms of COVID-19 You should consider yourself a possible primary contact and follow CDC guidelines:
- Report the exposure by completing the COVID-19 exposure form
- Contact ISU Health Center at (208) 282-2330 (Idaho Falls, Pocatello or Twin Falls) or Unity Health (208) 895-6729 (Meridian) or contact your primary care provider via phone to determine if you should be tested.
- Stay home until 14 days after last exposure and maintain social distance (at least 6 feet) from all others during that time.
Self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 by checking temperature twice a day, and watching for fever (100.4 ℉ or higher), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms using the CDC Self-Checker Tool. Especially avoid contact with people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19
Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop and refer to What should I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19?
What if I had close contact with person A who had close contact with person B who has COVID-19?
Person A is a primary contact. You are considered a secondary contact. Secondary contacts may continue usual activities with strict adherence to basic COVID-19 prevention measures including strict mask wearing, physical distancing, and handwashing. Secondary contacts should closely monitor for any symptoms. If Person A develops symptoms, you are now a primary contact and you need to quarantine. If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19 you should immediately self-isolate and seek medical care.
Example: Sally attended an outdoor barbeque on Friday with Fred. Sally spent 20 minutes standing next to Fred helping him with dishes after the barbeque (i.e. close contact with Fred). Fred learned on Saturday that his friend Mary has COVID-19. Fred had close contact with Mary on Thursday. Sally had no contact with Mary at any time. Fred is a primary contact and needs to quarantine for 14 days. Sally is a secondary contact and needs to monitor for symptoms and wait to learn if Fred develops symptoms or tests positive. She may continue usual activities with strict adherence to COVID-19 prevention measures. If Fred develops symptoms within 72 hours of the barbeque, Sally should quarantine and follow guidelines because she is now a primary contact.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19. You can access the CDC Symptom Self-Checker to see symptoms.
When should an individual seek emergency medical attention?
Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.
What does it mean to be asymptomatic?
That you are infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but do not exhibit symptoms during the course of the infection.
What does it mean to be presymptomatic?
That you are infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but have not exhibited symptoms at the time of testing. If you later exhibit symptoms during the course of the infection, then this means that you were presymptomatic but are now symptomatic.
What is a primary contact?
Anyone with close contact to an individual with known or probable COVID-19 is considered a primary contact. If the last contact with a known or probable COVID-19 case was more than 72 hours PRIOR to the COVID-19 case developing symptoms, then it appears to be very unlikely that COVID-19 would have been transmitted.
What is a secondary contact?
Anyone who reports close contact with a person who is a primary contact.
Example: Your spouse had close contact with a coworker. You had no contact with your spouse’s coworker. The coworker becomes ill and tests positive for COVID-19. Your spouse is a primary contact, you are a secondary contact. If your spouse becomes ill, then you become a primary contact.
What is considered close contact with a person with COVID-19?
- You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for at least 10 minutes whether or not they had symptoms. The CDC uses 15 minutes, ISU and the local health department are using 10 minutes to define close contact.
- You provided care at home to someone who has COVID-19.
- You live in the same household with someone who has COVID-19 AND have been within 6 feet for more than 10 minutes cumulative time (e.g. 5 minutes two times)
- You had direct physical contact with someone who has COVID-19 (touched, hugged, or kissed them).
- You shared a vehicle with someone who has COVID-19.
- You shared eating or drinking utensils with someone who has COVID-19.
- Someone with COVID-19 sneezed, coughed or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.
What should I do if a member of my household was exposed to someone who has COVID-19?
If a member of your household had close contact with a known COVID-19 patient, that person should quarantine at home for 14 days and avoid contact with the rest of the household as much as possible. They should use a separate bathroom, wear a face covering, and avoid the use of shared utensils and household items. If this person tests positive or develops symptoms, you must follow the guidance provided under “What should I do if I was exposed to someone with COVID-19?”
What does it mean to self-isolate?
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19 you should isolate, or separate yourself from others, typically at home. This includes separating yourself from others in your household, if possible. You can do so by using a separate bedroom and bathroom, wearing a cloth face covering when in any area outside of your seperate room, avoiding being within 6 feet of others for more than passing briefly, and avoiding the use of shared utensils and household items.
You may not go to stores, restaurants, gyms, classes, athletic events or to any other public places. You may go outside by yourself to walk or get activity as long as you do not come within 6 feet of others. You should wear a mask when you move around in your residence or when outside.
What does it mean to quarantine?
Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been or was exposed to COVID-19, and who is NOT currently displaying symptoms, away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, seperate themselves from others, monitor their health and follow the directions from their state or local health department.
What tests are available for COVID-19?
Two different types of tests are available. One tests for the presence of the virus, the other tests for the body’s response to the virus.
Presence of the virus can be determined by:
polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and antigen tests. These tests require obtaining a nasal swab.
The body’s response to the virus is measured by a blood test. This is called an antibody test. These tests do not measure the presence of the virus itself. If an antibody test is positive, it may indicate prior infection at least 3 weeks in the past.
Antibodies are molecules the body makes to fight off infections and are a measure of the body’s immune response to the virus.
How can I get testing done for COVID-19?
Testing is ordered through a medical provider. The University Health Center can help arrange testing for the Pocatello campus and is available for consultation for medical issues on any campus. ISU has formal arrangements with Unity Health in Meridian and with Sterling in Idaho Falls where members of the ISU community may receive medical care and obtain orders for COVID-19 testing if needed. The regional public health districts maintain a COVID-19 hotline during normal business hours. The hotline numbers for each Health District are as follows:
- Idaho Falls: Eastren Idaho Public Health - 208.522.0310 or toll free 855.533.3160
- Meridian: Central District Health - 208.321.2222
- Pocatello: Southeastern Idaho Public Health - 208.234.5875
- Twin Falls: South Central Public Health District - 208.737.1138
Will the University require testing for students, faculty, or staff?
At this time ISU does not recommend widespread testing of asymptomatic individuals. With current tasting capacity, it is unlikely that testing of asymptomatic individuals will yield significant benefit for individuals or the ISU community as a whole.
The COVID-19 Health Committee continually assesses the need for widespread testing, weighing local testing availability and turnaround time with the utility of asymptomatic testing based on geographic caseload. In certain scenarios, individual students, faculty or staff may be required to test negative prior to arrival, or may be asked to quarantine in their dorm or home until a negative test result is obtained.
If my COVID test comes back positive and after symptoms are over do I need a second test?
There are two ways to get a person with COVID-19 back to their usual activities. The first way is symptom based, the second is based on test results.
You must maintain isolation until the following criteria are met:
at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
3 days without fever
respiratory symptoms have markedly improved
If you meet these criteria, no additional COVID-19 tests are needed.
This method is NOT RECOMMENDED but sometimes is used for people working in the health care professions. You must maintain isolation until the following criteria are met: at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared, and 3 days without fever, and respiratory symptoms have improved. Then two more COVID-19 tests are done at least 24 hours apart to assure that you no longer are carrying the virus.
I was ill with COVID-19 symptoms and my symptoms have resolved and my COVID-19 test is not back yet.. May I come back to campus?
You may not return to campus until your COVID-19 test has returned.
I was ill with COVID-19 symptoms and had no test done and had no close contact with someone with COVID-19. May I return to normal campus activities?
You may not return until you have met one of the following criteria
At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
24 hours with no fever with no use of fever reducing medications (e.g. acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen)
respiratory symptoms have markedly improved
Your usual medical provider (physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) verifies in writing that you do NOT have COVID-19 and that you have no other contagious respiratory illness.
What should I do if I had symptoms of COVID-19, no known exposure to anyone with COVID-19 and my COVID-19 viral test is negative?
You may return to normal activities when you have had no fever for 72 hours and your symptoms have resolved. When you return to normal activities, you should adhere to COVID-19 prevention measures. It is still possible that you had COVID-19 because the viral tests sometimes have false negative results. A false negative means that you actually had the disease even through the test results said you did not. If anyone who has had close contact with you becomes ill, they need to be tested and isolated because we cannot be certain that you did not have COVID-19.
What defines a definite or confirmed COVID-19 case?
A case is considered definite when a person tests positive for COVID-19, whether or not they display any symptoms.
What does it mean if someone is a probable COVID-19 case?
A case is considered ‘probable’ when a person has had close contact with a confirmed case and is experiencing symptoms, but has not had a positive test for COVID-19. This can happen either because no test was done or the test for COVID-19 was negative but the suspicion based on symptoms is still high.
How are you notified of a positive COVID-19 test?
You will receive a phone call from the provider who ordered the test, or from someone working with the public health department. Contact the provider who ordered the test first. During that call there will be an opportunity to discuss how you may have gotten the virus and to whom you might have passed the virus. This is called contact tracing. You are encouraged to work with the contact tracer to identify others who might also be at risk for the disease.
Can we require reporting of illness and positive cases?
At this time, ISU is requesting voluntary self-reporting of COVID-19 like illness, exposure to a positive case and positive test results. You self-report by completing Covid-19 symptoms, exposure & test result self-reporting form
Why should I self-report my illness to the University?
The Health Committee is tracking the impact of COVID-19 across all ISU campuses. By self-reporting your symptoms or a recent positive COVID test, you are helping the Health Committee get a better idea of COVID-19 risk across our campus community. This information helps inform decisions about safety measures and helps us connect students, faculty, and staff to resources and services that can help during these challenging times. You self-report by completing Covid-19 symptoms, exposure & test result self-reporting form
Why should I participate in contact tracing if I have COVID-19?
Your participation in contact tracing helps protect others in your community. Contact tracing identifies your close contacts. A contact tracer is someone trained by the public health department who reaches out to your close contacts and provides them with information and resources on actions they can take to monitor for symptoms and quarantine. Most importantly, participation in contact tracing helps public health officials slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Information provided to a contact tracer will be kept confidential and only shared with those who need to know.
How will I be notified of possible exposure to COVID-19 on campus?
If it is identified through contact tracing that you were in close contact with a positive case, you will be informed by the local public health department or the University COVID-1 Health Committee working in collaboration with the health department. If campus health officials feel the risk is significant enough to the campus community, notification to the community may occur through a targeted email that will NOT include specific information about the person(s) involved.
If disease activity increases on or around any campus, how will the University make decisions to change operation?
University leadership actively monitors the spread of the virus in each campus community on a continual basis. In consultation with state and local health officials, the University may temporarily suspend in-person classes and/or close individual campuses or programs to mitigate risk of disease spread.
Is it true that masks and facial coverings are not helpful?
Formal studies with animals and humans, observation of the effects of facial coverings on the spread of COVID-19, and experience with large numbers of people in countries affected heavily by COVID-19 have shown masks and facial coverings to be effective in decreasing the spread of COVID-19. Brigham Young University recently summarized the research on COVID-19 and masks.
Is it true that wearing a mask is harmful to my personal health and well-being?
There is NO evidence that wearing masks or facial coverings are harmful or dangerous to the vast majority of people. The only exceptions for wearing masks or facial coverings are individuals with severe lung disease and individuals who cannot remove or adjust their own masks (children under 2 and people with severe disabilities).
Mask use is more prevalent in other countries and in medical professionals. Carbon dioxide retention does not occur except possibly in very rare cases where the person has severe lung disease (i.e. chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or a history of removal of portions of the lung. Toxins are not held in the body when wearing a mask and the immune system is not altered or weakened.
When not wearing a mask, approximately five ounces of exhaled breath is breathed back in with the next breath. When wearing a mask, this volume increases to six ounces. This increase in volume is small and your body compensates automatically for this to keep carbon dioxide levels steady.
How will the University maintain confidentiality in the notification process?
Names of positive or symptomatic individuals will not be released to the campus community at large. The campus community may receive periodic updates on the number or percentage of positive tests. Contact tracers receive training on maintaining confidentiality and every effort will be made to maintain confidentiality.
What should I do if I travel to an area that has a lot of documented cases COVID-19?
First and foremost, do not travel unless absolutely necessary. The activities and precautions undertaken during travel are as important as the location of travel. That is, if the traveler is strict about wearing a face covering, physical distancing, avoiding others who are not wearing masks, avoiding crowded indoor places where physical distancing is not possible, sanitizing hands frequently, and avoiding common touch points then the risk of acquiring COVID-19 can be mitigated. Following these guidelines on any mode of transportation is important as well. Consider driving a car by yourself, or if you must share a car, using masks and maintaining good airflow in the car as well as being sure your travel companion has acceptable risk for COVID-19. Public transportation carries higher risk and your ability to maintain distancing and close contact will be less under your control.
What if a friend or family member wants to visit and they are traveling from an area with high COVID-19 activity?
First and foremost, make a decision if the risk of acquiring COVID-19 is worth the visit. Ask them not to visit if they are ill, have symptoms of COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19. Review with them if they have been following all of the COVID-19 prevention measures noted above. If they have not been following the measures, consider not having them visit.
What if a contractor or vendor working on campus is visibly ill or not wearing a mask?
Contact Facility Services at (208)282-4086 for guidance.
Can I wear a face shield instead of a face covering?
Currently there is insufficient data to approve the use of a face shield in lieu of a cloth face covering for most people. However the Health Committee recognizes that this may be an acceptable accommodation for those who are medically unable to wear a face covering. Students, faculty, and staff may contact Disability Services at (208) 282-3599 to request an accommodation. Faculty may wear a face shield in lieu of a face covering only when lecturing to enhance the classroom experience and/or to ensure that individuals needing to read lips or who have similar ADA accommodations are being served appropriately. Please also contact firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration of other circumstances where face shields might be needed.
Is ISU providing face shields to campus visitors who cannot wear face coverings?
No, there are insufficient supplies of face shields for visitors.
How can we encourage non-adherent employees/students to take appropriate precautions related to COVID-19?
A member of the Health Committee at email@example.com will happily reach out to non-adherent employees or students directly. If there are large numbers of non-adherent students or employees, the Health Committee can schedule a short training or town hall for the whole group.
Will the University report the number of COVID-19 cases?
Yes, COVID-19 cases will be tracked and reported on the ISU Covid Cases page.
Will the University require faculty, staff, or students temperatures be taken before entering University facilities?
No, the University will not require this at this time for most University facilities, with certain exceptions. Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to check their temperature every day before leaving their residence.