August 20, 2020
Dear DePauw Community,
Below is a question and answer series that we hope you find helpful.
Q: What is the novel coronavirus 2019, also known as COVID-19?
A: COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus that started in Wuhan, China in late 2019. Other coronaviruses commonly circulate among humans, including the common cold. However, COVID-19 is a new virus to humans. It is thought that it started in animals and successfully transmitted to humans. Because it is a new virus, humans do not have immunity to it.
Q: How does the virus spread?
A: COVID-19 is transmitted mainly from person-to-person by respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing and spending more than a few minutes in close contact (within about 6 feet) with an infected person. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. It is also possible that the virus spreads from contact with infected surfaces. A person touches a contaminated surface and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth. This is not felt to be a frequent mode of transmission, however.
Q: What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
A: The clinical symptoms of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, include:
Fever (temperature of >100.4 F or 38 C)
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
Q: Is there a test for coronavirus?
A: Yes, there are 2 types of tests. The first is a viral test to detect COVID-19 current infection and the second is to detect antibodies in the blood stream that signal previous infection.
Q: Who should be tested?
A: Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms such as those listed above should contact their provider to discuss testing for current infection. DePauw students and employees that use DePauw Health should 765-658-4555 or after hours care information is located at After Hours Care Guidance.
Q: What happens if I am exposed to someone with COVID-19, or someone I have been around was exposed, but I’m not sick?
A: Stay home and call your health care provider for directions. You may be asked to Self-Quarantine. This means you need to monitor your temperature and note any development of symptoms for 14 days. Depending on the type of exposure you had, you may be able to keep working or you may be asked to stay home. Your health provider will advise you on what is right for you.
Q: What if a health care provider determines a DePauw student residing on campus needs to be tested for COVID-19?
If a health care provider determines that a test for COVID-19 is necessary, student housing leadership will advise the student on any housing changes necessary to follow self-isolation or self-quarantine guidelines while results are in process.
Q: What if a student residing on campus tests positive for COVID-19?
Students testing positive will be housed in DePauw self-isolation housing and be subject to monitoring by the local health department. A DePauw contact tracing team working with Putnam County Health Department will initiate contact tracing of exposed individuals. For those on campus, if you don’t receive a phone call from Putnam County Health Department, you are not a contact. No further actions are needed except practicing preventive behaviors like social distancing.
Q: What if my test for COIVD-19 is positive?
A: If your symptoms are mild, you should follow instructions found at Caring for Yourself at Home. This means separate yourself from other people. Students will be moved to isolation housing. Instructions will be provided by DePauw Health. You should wear a facemask when you are around other people and when you visit a healthcare provider’s office. Further information is found at What to Do if You Are Sick.
Some individuals with COVID-19 experience serious or life-threatening illness. Those who develop emergency warning signs should seek medical attention immediately. These include moderate to severe shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, bluish lips or face. Call 911 and tell dispatch you or someone you care for is positive for COVID-19.
Q: What can I do to avoid getting sick?
A: The best way to stay healthy is by following these practices:
- Use elbow bump or just say hello for greetings. Avoid handshaking.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, and before eating.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hand and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick or symptomatic
- Take steps to protect others
- STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK-even with mild symptoms like runny nose or cough
- Put distance between yourself and other people, especially if community spread of COVID-19 is happening where you live. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks. Disinfection information is found on the CDC website at Prevent Getting Sick.
Q: What is the treatment for those infected with COVID-19?
A: Work has begun on a vaccine, but it will likely be late 2020 or early 2021 before one is possibly available. This increases the importance of social distancing to decrease the number of people infected.
Those with mild symptoms may be directed to self-quarantine with home care instructions. Most respond to rest, plenty of fluids and fever reducing medications as needed. Those with severe symptoms need evaluation and treatment in a hospital setting as they may need oxygen and respiratory support with mechanical ventilation. There are medications used for hospitalized individuals with COVID-19 including Remdesivir and Dexamethasone. There are currently no known drugs that prevent infection and no drugs are currently available to treat mild to moderate disease.
Q: When is it safe for infected individuals to return to the community?
A: Your health care provider will tell you when you may safely return to the community. For those with mild illness, they may return 10 days from the onset of symptoms and 24 hours fever free. Previously individuals were directed to wait until they had 2 negative tests before returning to the community. This strategy is no longer used except in special circumstances. Follow your healthcare providers direction.
Q: Who is at risk for serious or life-threatening problems if they get COVID-19?
A: Individuals at higher risk include:
- Older adults, especially those over 60 with underlying illnesses. The greatest risk for severe illness is among those aged 85 or older.
- People with the following chronic medical conditions are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19:
- Heart disease such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
- Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
- COPD (emphysema)
- Immune deficiency from solid organ transplant
- Sickle Cell Disease
- Obesity (BMI of 30 or higher)
- People with the following conditions might be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19:
- Asthma (moderate to severe)
- Cerebrovascular disease affecting blood vessels and supply to the brain).
- Cystic fibrosis
- Hypertension/High blood pressure
- Immunodeficiency from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of immune weakening medicines
- Liver disease
- Neurologic conditions such as dementia
- Diabetes Mellitus type 1
- Pulmonary fibrosis
August 13, 2020
COVID-19 Resources for DePauw Students on Campus
DePauw Students will have access to Affinity’s daily Health Risk Assessment (HRA) tool. Students
are required to complete this form daily. If you develop symptoms, please call DePauw Health at 765-658-4555.
If you feel sick and have COVID-19 symptoms, call DePauw Health for an appointment. We are offering
both telemedicine and in-person appointments. DePauw Health staff will tell you which type of
appointment is best for you.
After hours, please refer to the following link for local options for care After-Hours Care.
If anyone experiences moderate or severe shortness of breath, significant chest pain or tightness,
bluish lips or face, new confusion or inability to stay awake, call or seek emergency help
immediately. Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility. Notify the dispatch operator
that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.
Transport yourself if you have a car and you feel well enough to drive. Do not ask a friend to
COVID-19 Resources for DePauw Employees
Q: What should an employee do if s/he develops COVID-19 symptoms?
A: Stay or go home and isolate from others. Contact DePauw HR and let them know you don’t feel
well. Let your supervisor know you don’t feel well and are seeking medical advice. DePauw HR will
guide you through the next steps.
Q: What will happen if an employee is COVID-19 positive?
A: If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, they must stay home and self-isolate. Employees are
asked to follow CDC guidelines on what to do if you are sick. The employee will be contacted by a
DePauw Health Professional who will monitor their daily symptoms and work with DePauw Health on
when it is safe to return to work . COVID-19 positive employees must complete a 10 day isolation,
be fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and
any symptoms must be improving.
Q: What steps should a supervisor take when they are made aware that one of their employees is being tested for COVID-19?
A: Supervisors should contact Human Resources to let them know that an employee informed
you that s/he is being tested for COVID-19. Information regarding any medical diagnosis or condition will be kept confidential, consistent with the University’s obligations under law. The
Wellness Center will assist HR to determine if any other steps are necessary to support your
employee or fellow co-workers who fall within the medical criteria for potential exposure.
Q: What steps should a co-worker take if they are made aware that a colleague is being tested for COVID-19?
A: Please notify your supervisor or contact the DePauw Health Center for advice. Let them know that
your colleague informed you that s/he is being tested for COVID-19. Please remember to respect the
privacy of your co-worker by not sharing this information with anyone else. The Wellness Center
will determine if other steps are necessary to monitor your own health or support others in your
department who may fall within the medical criteria for potential exposure.
Q: What if I am exposed to someone who has tested positive but I don’t have any symptoms?
A: You need to stay home and let DePauw HR know you were exposed to someone that tested positive
for COVID-19. You will be referred for assessment by a healthcare provider to
determine if you were a close contact and whether you should Quarantine If You Might Be Sick.