Frequently Asked Questions related to Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
Will I be required to self-quarantine or be quarantined upon my return to California or Oregon?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend that individuals avoid out-of-state, non-essential travel because travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.
Both Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) and Oregon Health Authority now have different guidance for travel based on vaccination status. Please review the links below for current guidelines.
Definition of Fully Vaccinated:
A person is considered fully vaccinated ≥2 weeks following the receipt of:
- the second dose in a 2-dose series (e.g., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna)
- one dose of a single-dose vaccine (e.g., Johnson and Johnson/Janssen)
For both California and Oregon: Persons who are fully vaccinated can travel safely within the United States and do not require a quarantine period. While international travel poses additional risk, fully vaccinated persons may travel internationally provided they take precautions while traveling and they have a negative COVID-19 viral test prior to flying into the United States. See CDC International Travel Recommendations for more information.
- California: LACDPH has issued a travel advisory for individuals who are not fully vaccinated and returning to the area from other states or countries. If you have participated in non-essential travel from your primary WesternU residence, then you must:
- Tested: Quarantine for 7 full days after travel if you get tested and get a negative COVID-19 viral test result from a specimen collected 3-5 days after your arrival.
- Not Tested: Quarantine for 10 days upon return if you do not get tested with a COVID-19 viral test after arrival.
- If travel was deemed essential (i.e., for clinical rotations, essential work, etc.) than you may return to campus. Travel should be reported to your College/Operating Unit and a COVID-19 test may be requested prior to your return. If returning to a clinical site, follow any guidelines provided by your site to return.
- Oregon: Persons arriving in Oregon from other states or countries, including returning Oregon residents, should self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival. These persons should limit their interactions to their immediate household. This recommendation does not apply to individuals who cross state or country borders for essential travel.
If you remain asymptomatic, you may end quarantine:
- After 10 days, without any testing OR
- After 7 days, if you received a negative test result from an antigen or PCR test that was conducted within 48 hours of the end of 7-day period.
- Oregon Statewide Guidance (Recommendations) for Travel
- “Essential travel” includes: work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.
Who pays for any COVID-19 testing if I chose to travel for personal reasons?
You are responsible for securing and paying for your own tests due to personal travel.
Any travel for University business will require approval from your Dean/Director. University business would include conference, training, and meetings only held in the USA and Canada. If the travel is approved at the department level, the request will be sent to University Administration where it will again be reviewed. If the travel is approved by University Administration, the traveler must complete the Travel History Survey form. If it is not approved, the university will not be responsible for reimbursing any expenses should you still choose to go as it will not be university sanctioned travel.
Students whose clinical rotation schedules require traveling out of the area around the campus or out of state are advised to check the COVID-19 infection rate for the area where they will be going. Students are advised to adhere to all infection prevention and control measures, e.g., face covering, hand hygiene, social distancing, and monitor for signs/symptoms of COVID-19. Depending on the country, state, and local COVID-19 safety requirements, students may need to factor in quarantine period mandates as part of their rotation schedules. For example, if a state requires a 14 day quarantine period upon entry to their state, students will need to adjust travel arrangements to abide by the 14-day mandate.
Note that international travel for all university business has been canceled until further notice. For more information related to trave internationally go to US State Department Travel Advisories for up-to-date information.
What is the best way to protect myself if I have to drive in a vehicle with passengers?
When driving in vehicles with passengers outside of your household make sure to:
- Wear a facial covering
- Sit in back seat when possible
- Avoid touching surfaces
- Use touchless payment when available
- Limit the number of passengers if possible
- Improve ventilation by opening windows or setting air to non-recirculation mode
- Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when exiting vehicle and wash hands once you arrive at destination.
What do I do when I get back from my travels?
Upon returning from travel, required to complete the COVID-19 Symptoms Checklist if you have had:
- Any contact with an infected person during travel: 14-days mandatory self-isolation
- Any signs of illness upon return: 14-days mandatory self-isolation
- No signs of illness: Watch-and-Wait with 14-days mandatory isolation if any signs of illness appear
I had a layover at an airport that was designated by the US State Department as a Level 3 or Level 4. I never left the airport. What do I do?
- If you are without symptoms, you can return to work or class as scheduled. However, we recommend that you monitor symptoms.
- If you develop symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath, you should stay home and contact your healthcare provider for further guidance.
What is contact tracing and why does it matter?
Contact Tracing is a confidential process that health departments have used for decades to help slow the spread of infectious diseases and avoid outbreaks. Health department personnel contact people testing positive for COVID-19 and their close contacts to ask symptom-related questions, locate potential contacts, provide support/resources, and provide instructions for isolation or quarantine. The more people that are contacted, the more lives can be saved.
COVID-19 Symptoms, Exposure, Case Reporting Form
Due to the recent increased prevalence of COVID-19, we are requesting that any member of the WesternU Community who may have been exposed complete the COVID-19 Symptoms/Exposure Reporting form. This will alert the University Contact Tracing Team (CTT). The CTT needs to know if you or another member of the WesternU community has been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or appears to be exhibiting signs and symptoms associated with this virus.
How do I find a COVID-19 Testing Site?
If you think you should be tested for COVID-19, talk to a healthcare provider. To get a test, you may or may not need a doctor’s order. You can locate a COVID-19 testing site by typing in a search engine “COVID-19 Testing [name of city you live in]. This should bring up a list of testing sites in your area. Reach each carefully as they may have different requirements, e.g., no appointment, make an appointment, pay with cash, bring insurance card. You can also try the following:
- LA County COVID-19 Testing Information: https://covid19.lacounty.gov/testing/
- California COVID-19 Testing Information: https://covid19.ca.gov/get-tested/
- Oregon COVID-19 Testing Information: https://govstatus.egov.com/or-oha-covid-19-testing
When is testing for COVID-19 recommended?
The LAC DPH now encourages healthcare providers to expand testing to more patients with COVID-19 symptoms if resources are available. When testing resources are limited, those at higher risk for severe disease should be prioritized, see LAC DPH testing priorities in the link below. Testing asymptomatic persons may be considered if they have been part of an outbreak investigation, if they are staff or a resident of a congregate living setting, or if they are a close contact of a person with COVID-19.
What is the difference between an antigen test, a PCR test, and an antibody test for COVID 19?
How much will the RT-PCR test cost?
The test provided on campus is free to all WesternU Employees and Students.
Do I have to have an appointment in order to get tested?
Although an appointment is preferred, COVID Wellness (the company performing the testing) will have a walk-up testing line. Please note, you may have to wait while those with appointments are taken care of first.
I would like to have my partner and child tested but they are not an employee or student at WesternU. Can they be tested too?
No. COVID-19 testing is open only to WesternU employees and students.
Do I have to take the COVID-19 test through WesternU, or can I take it anywhere and show proof of our test results?
You are free to have your COVID-19 test performed by WesternU or some other organization. Regardless of where you go for testing, your test would have to be administered within a certain time frame to be valid. You need to have the RT- PCR test (not a rapid antigen) done ideally 2-5 days before your return, but no more than 7 days prior to your return, as this will give the lab sufficient time to process your test specimen and get the results back to you. Please note, any lab results from outside of a WesternU sponsored testing event should be submitted to COVIDTesting@westernu.edu for tracking purposes.
How is the AcccessBio COVID 19 CareStart Antigen test performed?
I scheduled an appointment for testing but need to cancel it now. What do I do?
You do not need to cancel the appointment.
If I test positive on an RT-PCR test, can I receive a second test to return to campus?
No, from the initial positive RT-PCR test result, you must isolate for 10 days if asymptomatic. If symptomatic, you will isolate for 10 days from symptom onset or positive test result, whichever occurred first. Isolation can end on day 11 if your symptoms have improved and you remain fever free without medications for at least 24 hours. Please submit the COVID-19 Report Survey to initiate the contact tracing process.
I am a first year student and I would like to schedule a COVID-19 test through the university. However, I still have not received my WesternU photo ID. Is it possible to book the appointment without it?
How To Find Your Student ID
- Log into the YOU portal https://you.westernu.edu
- Click on Self-Service (BanWeb) located in the top right corner
- From Self-Service, click on the Student Services link located in the top right corner
- Access the Student Records Menu
- Access the Account Summary Link
- Your Student ID is located in the top right corner of the screen
I just had my PCR test, why do I need to take another test?
Still take the rapid antigen test, the PCR results are only accurate for the day that the sample was taken and does not reflect possible exposures after the test date. Because the prevalence in our community is so high, community-based exposures are still happening, even when you are taking all precautions. In order to keep our campus safe, we need everyone to participate in the rapid antigen testing.
I already had COVID, why do I need to take a rapid antigen test?
The science does not yet tell us how long immunity lasts after a person is infected with coronavirus and we are not sure how long a person with coronavirus could still be shedding the virus, or if the person could become re-infected. Because the prevalence in our community is so high, community-based exposures are still happening, even when you are taking all precautions. In order to keep our campus safe, we need everyone to participate in the rapid antigen testing.
I already had my vaccination (either 1 or 2 doses), so why do I need to have a rapid antigen test?
The science does not yet tell us how effective the vaccination will be in real-world conditions. We also do not yet know whether people with the vaccine may still be infectious to others, even if they do not get sick themselves. Because the prevalence in our community is so high, community-based exposures are still happening, even when you are taking all precautions. In order to keep our campus safe, we need everyone to participate in the rapid antigen testing.
I am currently in quarantine or isolation due to symptoms, exposure or current illness. What do I do?
Do NOT come to campus for the rapid antigen test. Stay in quarantine / isolation until you have clearance from the Contact Tracing Team. You will be tested with the rapid antigen test in about a month, as part of the regular sampling protocol. Watch for another notification.
I have a scheduling conflict or its not convenient due to off campus responsibility so how do I get a COVID test?
On a case-by-case basis we may be able to reschedule for another day and time during the same week. The college should work with the student to give some options for another testing time and date if it is available.
Can you get COVID-19 from a vaccine?
No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines being developed in the United States have the virus that causes COVID-19 in them. Sometimes people get a fever or feel tired for a day or so after getting a vaccine. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. You can learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work at this CDC website.
It usually takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. If a person got infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after they got a shot they could still get COVID-19. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
If I have already had COVID-19, do I still need to get vaccinated?
According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccination should be offered to persons regardless of a history of having COVID-19 infection, with or without symptoms.
Natural immunity, which is gained from having the infection, varies from person to person. It is still unknown how long natural immunity lasts, though some evidence already indicates that it is not for an extensive period of time. So, if you have had COVID-19 and recovered, re-infection is still possible and that is why you may still be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Will getting the vaccine cause me to test positive on a COVID-19 test?
No. Vaccines won’t cause you to test positive on a viral test (like the swab test) that looks for current COVID-19 infection. You may test positive on some antibody tests. This is because one of the ways that vaccines work is to teach your body to make antibodies.
What is the difference between the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine?
How many shots of COVID-19 vaccine will I need?
Most of the COVID-19 vaccines that are being tested are given in two doses a few weeks apart. It is important to get the same kind of vaccine for both shots.
Will I have to pay to get a COVID-19 vaccine?
No. Your doctor or pharmacy may charge a fee for giving the vaccine, but it should be covered by public and private insurance companies. People without health insurance can get COVID-19 vaccines at no cost. There are no out-of-pocket payments.
Will there be enough vaccine for everyone?
There won’t be enough for everyone right away. Plans have been made to spread these limited vaccines in a fair, ethical, and transparent way. Healthcare workers and people living in long-term care facilities (such as nursing homes) will be offered the vaccine first. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as large quantities are available; this may take a few months.
Why do we need a vaccine if we can do other things, like social distance and wear masks?
We need to do as much as we can to stop the pandemic. Vaccines boost your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like masks and social distancing, help lower your chance of being exposed to or spreading the virus. Together, these tools offer the best protection from COVID-19.
How do vaccines protect communities?
When a person gets vaccinated, they are less likely to get a disease or pass the germ on to other people. When more people get vaccinated there are fewer people left for a germ to infect so it is harder for the germ to spread. This is called community immunity or “herd immunity.” Herd immunity is important because it protects people who can’t get the vaccine, for example, because they are too young or are very sick.
Will WesternU be administering COVID-19 vaccine to employees and students?
WesternU has been approved (Oregon is pending approval) as a COVID-19 Vaccine Administration site.
The local public health authority will dictate who the vaccine can be given to. They have things in Phase 1a, 1b, 1c, 2 and 3
What do I need to know if I received the COVID-19 vaccine?
Currently, the COVID-19 vaccines that have been given EUA (Pfizer and Moderna) have been shown to be effective at preventing COVID-19 disease and severe illness. However, evidence is currently lacking on the duration of this protection and the vaccine effectiveness at preventing transmission. Therefore, anyone who has received COVID-19 vaccination (either one or two doses) must continue to follow all current infection prevention and control recommendations to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. All vaccinated employees and staff must continue the daily monitoring, source control, and quarantine recommendations.
Positive COVID-19 tests (molecular or antigen), if performed, should not be attributed to the COVID-19 vaccine, as vaccination does not influence the results of these tests.
Vaccine Associated Symptoms Monitoring:
Afebrile HCP who develop typical vaccine-associated symptoms within 2 days of receiving a COVID-19 vaccination may be permitted to continue to work if they meet specific criteria. See Post Vaccination Assessment of Symptomatic Healthcare Personnel.
What kind of post-vaccination assessment should be done for a symptomatic health care provider?
For information on this subject, go to LAC | DPH | COVID-19 Post Vaccination Assessment of Symptomatic Healthcare Providers (lacounty.gov)
I have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Do I still need to get a RT-PCR or rapid antigen test if I will be on campus?
Yes. The vaccines do not interfere with the test results so there is no reason for vaccinated person to have false positive COVID test results.
If I have received a COVID-19 vaccine, why do I still need to wear PPEs?
The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require 2 vaccines to be administered over a set period of time in order for your body to produce the antibodies needed to protect you from COVID-19. Additionally, research is ongoing in determining how long the vaccine will protect you. Therefore, whether you received a COVID-19 vaccine or not, anytime you are on a WesternU campus/facility, you will be required to wear a face mask at all times, unless you are alone in your own office with the door closed, and a face shield if you will be within 6 feet of another person.
Information and support
What are the symptoms of COVID-19 and what should I do if I have symptoms?
Clinical presentation among reported cases of COVID-19 varies in severity and can include cough, shortness of breath, fever or chills, congestion, runny nose, headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, muscle aches, and new loss of taste or smell. Some people with COVID-19 never experience symptoms. Additional symptoms and information can be found by visiting Learn About Symptoms & What to do if you are sick
How do I prevent the spread of COVID-19 if I am sick?
What to do if you are sick Source: CDC
What is a close contact of COVID-19?
A close contact includes any of the following people that were exposed to a person with presumed or confirmed COVID-19 during the infectious period*:
- Any person that was within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
- Any person that had unprotected contact with the body fluids and/or secretions (such as being coughed on/sneezed on, shared utensils, or saliva or provided care without wearing protective equipment).
The infectious period for a symptomatic person with COVID-19 includes 2 days (48 hours) before that person’s symptoms first appeared and until the time you are no longer required to be isolated. If you have a positive COVID-19 diagnostic (viral) test, but no symptoms, you are considered to be infectious from 2 days before your first positive test was taken until 10-days after that test was taken.
Source: LA County PHD Home Quarantine Instructions for Close Contacts to COVID-19
How are close contacts managed?
Close contacts must self-quarantine for 10 days after the last time they were in contact with the case and remain asymptomatic. They may return to regular activities after the 10 days have passed, if they have remained asymptomatic, and have had no further contact with the case. If they continue to live with, have contact with, and/or care for a person with COVID-19, go to Home Quarantine Guidance.
What is home quarantine?
Quarantine is used to separate people who have been recently exposed to COVID-19 (close contacts) from others while they are potentially becoming infectious.
How long do I have to quarantine?
Close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases are required to self-quarantine for 10 days after their last contact with the infectious person. If they remain asymptomatic, after Day 10 they are allowed to discontinue quarantine on the condition they follow these additional precautions:
From Day 11 through Day 14 they must both
- strictly adhere to all routine COVID-19 prevention interventions including, wearing a face covering whenever around other people, keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from others, and washing hands often, AND
- continue to monitor daily for COVID-19 symptoms. If symptoms develop, they must isolate immediately and contact their healthcare provider, clinician advice line, or telemedicine provider for a medical assessment and arrange a test for COVID-19.
Asymptomatic healthcare workers, first responders, and social workers (who work face to face with clients in the child welfare system or in assisted living facilities) are allowed to return to work if their employer is experiencing critical staffing shortages. They must follow job specific return-to-work protocols. When they are not doing their essential work, they must continue to follow quarantine orders and instructions as issued by the local public health authority.
If it is best to keep away from people at high risk for getting very sick from COVID-19 for the full 14 days.
*If you don’t know when you were exposed to the infected person and you received a Public Health Emergency Quarantine Order, you can end your quarantine 10 days after the date the order was issued (as long as you don’t have symptoms).
*If you have a test for COVID-19, and it is negative, you must still quarantine for at least 10 days.
Do healthcare providers need to be quarantined if a patient or a co-worker tests positive?
HCP should be excluded from work and should self-quarantine at home if they have had a high-risk workplace exposure. HCP with other healthcare exposures have no work restrictions and should continue to follow all recommended infection prevention and control practices including universal source control (medical-grade surgical/procedure mask or respirator) and twice daily symptom monitoring.
In the healthcare setting, the following exposures to a confirmed infectious COVID-19 case* are considered high-risk:*
- If they had close contact (within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24- hour period)
- While not wearing a medical respirator or facemask
- While not wearing eye protection if the case was not wearing a medical facemask or cloth face covering.
- If they had direct unprotected contact with infectious secretions/excretions.
- If they were not properly protected (i.e. not wearing both an N95 respirator and eye protection) while in the same room during an aerosol-generating procedure conducted on the case.
*COVID-19 cases are considered to be infectious from 2 days before their symptoms started until their isolation period ends. Asymptomatic persons with a positive COVID-19 test are considered to be infectious from 2 days before their test was taken until 10 days after their test was taken.
HCP with high-risk workplace exposures to COVID-19 should be excluded from work and should follow quarantine instructions. They should be instructed to monitor themselves daily for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and to immediately contact their established point of contact (e.g. occupational health program) if symptoms develop. They may return to work after 10 days if they have never had symptoms. They must continue daily symptom monitoring through day 14. If symptoms occur, they must be immediately excluded from work and told to isolate at home pending clinical evaluation and testing.
Should healthcare providers be quarantined if they are a close contact to a COVID-19 case in the community?
If an HCP had close contact (within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period) with a confirmed COVID-19 case outside of work, they must notify the HCF. They should be excluded from work and follow quarantine instructions.
They should be instructed to monitor themselves daily for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and may return to work after 10 days from their last close contact with the case if they have never developed symptoms. They must continue regular daily symptom monitoring and if symptoms occur within 14 days of the exposure, they must be immediately excluded from work and told to isolate at home pending clinical evaluation and testing.
If a healthcare provider is being quarantined because they are a close contact to a confirmed case in their household, can they return to work with negative COVID-19 test?
While the CDC still recommends a quarantine period of 14 days, they have provided two shorter quarantine options for asymptomatic contacts that reduce the burden of quarantine yet may increase the possibility of spread of the virus: 1) after 10 days without testing and 2) after 7 days with a negative viral test. Persons who are a close contact to a household case have a high incidence of infection. For this reason, HCP who are close contacts to a household case (i.e., the HCP lives with an infected person) should be excluded from work for at least 10 days unless the HCF is experiencing a staffing shortage.
If the HCF is experiencing staffing shortage, then HCP who are household close contacts may return to work after day 7 if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring AND after a negative PCR test collected on day 5 or later*. These HCP must observe strict infection control procedures including source control at all times (facemask or respirator required) while working. They must continue regular daily symptom monitoring and if symptoms occur within 14 days of the exposure, they must be immediately excluded from work and told to isolate at home pending clinical evaluation and testing.
* Exception-this shortened quarantine should not be used for HCP who work with patients who are severely immunocompromised or who work in dialysis center or skilled nursing facilities unless critical staffing shortages exist.
What is isolation?
Isolation is used to separate people infected with COVID-19 away from those who are not infected. Persons in isolation can be symptomatic (with or without a positive test result) or asymptomatic with a positive test result.
Symptomatic patients with presumed or confirmed COVID-19 can be released from isolation when the following criteria have been met:
- At least 24 hours have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
- Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath); and,
- At least 10 dayshave passed since symptoms first appeared.
Asymptomatic persons with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 may be released from isolation, barring the development of symptoms, 10 days after the initial positive PCR test.
When can isolation be discontinued with a COVID-19 positive person?
A) If you tested positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms, you must isolate yourself until:
- At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared, and
- At least 24 hours have passed since you have been fever-free without the use of fever reducing medications, and
B) If you tested positive for COVID-19, but never had any symptoms, you must isolation yourself for 10 days after the date that your first positive diagnostic (viral) test was taken. However, if you develop symptoms while you are isolation, you must follow the instructions listed above in Section (A), for individuals with COVID-19 Symptoms who test positive.
C) If a healthcare provider informs you that they clinically suspect you have COVID-19, you must remain in isolation until either:
- At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared, and
At least 24 hours have passed since you have been fever-free without the use of fever reducing medications, and
Your symptoms have improved.
- The health care provider reassesses your diagnosis and concludes that you do not have COVID-19, and
At least 24 hours have passed since you have been fever-free without the use of fever reducing medications
NOTE: If you are currently in quarantine as a close contact to a person with COVID-19, you must continue to follow the instructions in the self-quarantine order even if you receive a negative COVID-19 test or a healthcare provider concludes that you do not have COVID-19.
What are the requirements for returning to campus to work for someone who has had a confirmed exposure to someone with COVID-19 and is now symptomatic?
If an ill person that is sent home for evaluation and tests negative on an RT-PCR COVID-19 test, or is told by their provider that they do not have COVID-19, they may return to the workplace 24 hours after their fever has resolved without the use of fever reducing medications and their symptoms have improved.
If they fail to get tested or be seen by a provider, they should stay home from work and remain isolated for the full 10 days from the start of their symptoms and 24 hours after they are fever free and their symptoms have improved.
Individuals who are cases can return to work after completion of their isolation period according to Health Officer orders. For those who have had contact to lab confirmed cases may return after their period of quarantine is completed. Staff that meet these requirements can return to work and resume usual activities. Neither Public Health clearance nor a negative COVID-19 test is required for return to work.
For individuals who had symptoms of possible COVID-19 and had it ruled out, either with negative PCR test(s) and/or with a clinical assessment that COVID-19 is not suspected (e.g. clear alternate diagnosis), then return to work decisions should be based on their other suspected or confirmed diagnoses.
A single negative COVID-19 RT-PCR result is adequate to exclude COVID-19 in symptomatic staff with lower epidemiologic risk and/or lower clinical suspicion. A negative test result from a lower sensitivity assay (e.g. antigen tests and some molecular tests), however, should be considered presumptive and confirmation with RT-PCR is recommended.
Two negative RT-PCR tests at least 24 hours apart are recommended to exclude COVID-19 in individuals with higher clinical suspicion and/or higher epidemiologic risk.
Source: LA County PHD Source: Guidance for returning to the Workplace
What is the return to work/clinical rotations criteria for individuals with confirmed COVID-19?
HCP with mild to moderate illness who are not severely immunocompromised can return to work:
- At least 10 days after symptom onset AND
- At least 24 hours since last fever without fever-reducing medication AND
- Improvement in symptoms.
Asymptomatic HCP who are not severely immunocompromised should be excluded from work until 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test, assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms. If they develop symptoms, follow above guidance.
Symptomatic HCP with severe or critical illness that required hospitalization, or who are severely immunocompromised can return to work:
- At least 20 days after symptom onset AND
- At least 24 hours since last fever without fever-reducing medication AND
- Improvement in symptoms.
Note: Asymptomatic HCP who are severely immunocompromised, should wait to return to work until days since first positive viral diagnostic test.
For current definitions of COVID-19 illness severity and severely immunocompromised see CDC Return to Work for Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection
Return to Work Practices and Work Restrictions
Employees with a confirmed COVID-19 infection do not need a medical clearance to return to work after they have met the isolation requirements as established by the local public health authority.
STUDENTS: You are also held to the return to work requirements of the clinical rotation site you are currently assigned to.
How often should I monitor for COVID-19 symptoms?
All HCP should self-monitor twice daily (the first time prior to coming to work and the second ideally timed approximately 12 hours later) for symptoms of possible COVID-19.
HCP with symptoms of possible COVID-19 should complete the COVID-19 Symptoms Screening app before coming to campus. It is recommended that if you are symptomatic, you should be assessed by a clinician. The clinician should determine if further medical evaluation and COVID-19 testing is needed prior to allowing you to come to campus.
If HCP develop symptoms of possible COVID-19 while at work, they should keep their mask/respirator on and notify their supervisor to arrange leaving the workplace and obtaining medical evaluation and/or COVID-19 testing as appropriate.
When should a healthcare provider be tested for COVID-19?
HCP with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should be prioritized for SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic testing, even if the symptoms are mild. Asymptomatic HCP who are part of an outbreak investigation, part of facility-wide surveillance testing, or who were close contacts to a case in the community (including household contacts) should be tested. Testing for return to work clearance is not recommended.
Note: viral testing is not recommended for asymptomatic HCP who have had laboratory confirmed COVID-19 within the past 90 days. See Patients with a History of Recent Recovery from COVID-19 for more information.
Who should be informed if a patient/visitor in the clinic tests positive for COVID-19?
All non HCP who were close contacts of the infectious patient/visitor while at the HCF should be notified of their exposure and provided with quarantine instructions.
Facilities should ensure that there are systems in place to prevent exposures between patients/visitors including universal source control for all patients, visitors, and staff; limiting the number of patients in waiting rooms/common areas; and arranging seating such that patients/visitors can sit at least 6 feet apart.
When there are possible exposures from an infected patient/visitor to HCP, facilities should inform the exposed HCP and determine if there were any high-risk exposures. See Do HCP need to be quarantined if a patient or a co-worker tests positive?
Who should be informed if a healthcare provider in the clinic tests positive for COVID-19?
Any patients or visitors who were close contacts to a HCP with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 while they were infectious must be notified of their exposure and provided quarantine orders and instructions. This includes those who were close contacts to an infected HCP who was wearing appropriate PPE during the exposure.
All co-workers who were close contacts to the infectious HCP must be informed of their possible exposure and assessed for risk. See Do HCP need to be quarantined if a patient or a co-worker tests positive?
I have been coughing but its allergy season. Should I be concerned that it could be COVID-19 instead?
COVID-19 and allergies share similar symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, sore throat, and congestion/runny nose. Allergies do not cause some of the common symptoms of COVID-19 such as cough, shortness of breath, fever/chills, and muscle aches. Due to the similarities between COVID-19 and allergies, it is recommended to get tested for COVID-19 to rule out the illness. For more information, go to People with seasonal allergies
What is the difference between COVID-19 and influenza (the flu)?
Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
Flu is different from a cold.
Flu usually comes on suddenly.
People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
*It is important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
COVID-19 symptoms range from mild to severe illness, and death.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- New loss of taste or smell
- Nausea or vomiting
*This list does not include all possible symptoms.
Key differences between COVID-19 and influenza include:
- COVID-19 spreads more easily than influenza
- COVID-19 causes more serious illness in some people
- It can take longer for those with COVID-19 to show symptoms and they can be infectious for longer.
I have a chronic disease that puts me at higher risk for COVID-19. How can I protect myself?
Limit contact with other people as much as possible. To prevent getting COVID-19 you should wear a facial covering, stay at least 6 feet away, wash hands often or use hand-sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often with an EPA-registered household disinfectants, and monitor health daily.
I have been exposed to a presumptive or confirmed COVID-19 patient, and I am currently not experiencing any symptoms. What do I do?
Can I come to campus to study?
At this time, no students are allowed on campus for the sole purpose of studying.
What resources are available to me or my family to help in managing the stress and anxiety about COVID-19?
When you hear, read, or watch news about an outbreak of an infectious disease, it is normal to feel anxious and show signs of stress—even when the outbreak affects people far from where you live and you are at low risk of getting sick. It is important to care for your own physical and mental health. If you are feeling anxious, depressed, or frustrated during this time you are not alone. Mental health professionals recommend several ways to help yourself cope with stress including:
- Taking breaks from engaging in news or social media.
- Taking care of your body by eating balance meals, exercising, stretching, taking deep breaths, getting enough sleep, and avoiding alcohol/drugs.
- Taking time to do safe activities you enjoy, e.g., walking, crafting.
- Ensuring to still connect with others while social distancing, e.g., video calls.
- For tips on what you can do to help cope, read “Coping with stress.
If you or a loved one are feeling overwhelmed during this time please contact your healthcare provider and/or use these resources:
- LA County’s Department of Mental Health’s 24/7 hotline at (800)-854-7771 or text “LA” to 741741.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517).
- Linn County’s mental health general access line at (541)-889-9167.
- Linn County’s mental health crisis lines at (541)-967-3866 or 1-(800)-304-7468 (24 hours).
If you or a loved or feel like harming yourself or are feeling suicidal call 911.