UConn Student Health and Wellness – Medical Care (SHaW- Medical Care) continues to closely monitor updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the federal government, and we are working in collaboration with our local and state departments of public health regarding COVID-19.
As students returned at the start of spring semester, all individuals who presented to SHaW–Medical Care with fever and symptoms of a lower respiratory illness were screened for recent travel according to CDC guidelines, and we were prepared to care for any of our students who screened positive for a possible COVID-19 exposure. We offered health checks for recent travelers and established a dedicated phone line to answer COVID-19-related questions and concerns. Throughout this time, the risk to our students from the COVID-19 virus remained extremely low.
We continue to serve as a health resource for students as they return from countries with COVID-19 CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notices. These students have been directed to self-quarantine at home for the 14 days following their return to the United States according to CDC guidelines.
Cases of COVID-19 have been reported across the United States. Because the situation regarding this illness is fluid and has been changing quickly, the university is posting regular updates to the community as new information and guidance arrives. Our thoughts go out to our families, friends, and colleagues at home and around the world who are struggling with this situation.
COVID-19 FAQs (Updated: 3/13/2020)
What is COVID-19?
- COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019. It has since continued to spread worldwide, including in the United States. To date, there are no cases in Connecticut.
What is a “novel” coronavirus?
- A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified.
When do symptoms appear?
- According the CDC, symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to COVID-19.
What are symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms may be flu-like with a wide range in severity. Confirmed COVID-19 cases have ranged from little to no symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms can include:
- Difficulty breathing/Shortness of breath
How are individuals screened for COVID-19?
- Individuals with symptoms of fevers, cough, and shortness of breath are screened with a series of questions to assess their risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to the onset of their symptoms. These questions include travel histories and contact with individuals diagnosed with or suspected of COVID-19 infection.
Can I be tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus?
- In Connecticut, COVID-19 testing is performed by the Connecticut Department of Public Health state laboratory and decisions to test individuals by the state lab for COVID-19 are made in collaboration with CT-DPH.
- Commercial laboratories such as Quest and LabCorp are beginning to provide COVID-19 testing.
- Testing through commercial laboratories requires specimen collection and lab orders by a medical provider.
How is COVID-19 spread?
- The COVID-19 virus is spread through respiratory droplets from person to person.
- Requires close contact: approximately 6 feet.
- Can occur when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
- Can also spread through touching an infected surface or object and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
- However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus is spread.
What can I do to stay healthy and protect myself?
Everyday preventive actions help prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses. This includes:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Self-isolate when you are sick.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow, not into your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Should I wear a facemask to protect myself from COVID-19?
- The CDC does not recommend that people who are in good health wear face masks to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19.
- In general, face masks should be worn by people who are ill to prevent spreading their infection to others.
What do I do if I have been told to self-quarantine/self-monitor for 14 days?
- Remain at home for 14 days.
- Monitor your health for symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
- Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day to monitor for a fever (100.4◦/38◦C or higher).
- If you develop symptoms, call ahead before seeking medical care, and do not use drop-in urgent care sites or other locations. You may contact Student Health and Wellness to speak to a health care provider at: 860 486-4700: option #1, then #2.
- Practice “social distancing” by avoiding public places where close contact with others may occur. This includes but is not limited to:
- College campuses, residential halls, and classroom settings
- Shopping centers, movie theaters, stadiums, restaurants/bars
- Public transportation
- Any setting where large groups of people congregate
- Practice good hand hygiene with frequent hand-washing.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough and practice good cough etiquette (cough into your sleeve or elbow, not your hands).
- Do not share personal items.
- Decline requests from visitors during the quarantine period.
- You can return to normal activities after the 14 day period is complete, there is no clearance process.
- There are no recommended restrictions for other members of your household during the 14 day period as long as you continue to have no symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath.
Is there a vaccine to protect against COVID-19?
- COVID-19 is a newly identified virus and there is currently no vaccine to prevent infection.
Is there a treatment for COVID-19?
- There is no specific treatment, including antiviral medication recommended at this time.
- People infected with COVID-19 receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms and should remain isolated until symptoms resolve to avoid spreading it to others.
What if I think I have been exposed to COVID-19?
- Individuals who think they may have been exposed and are experiencing symptoms should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
- UConn Storrs students my seek care at SHaW-Medical Care in the Hilda May Williams building at 234 Glenbrook Road, Storrs. Please call 860 486-4700: option #1 then #2 to speak to a health care provider before you visit.
Where can I get more information?
- Call Student Health and Wellness COVID-19 Advice Nurse Line: (860) 486-8987. Messages will be returned within one business day.
- Visit the Centers for Disease Control website