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If You Think You've Been Exposed to COVID-19

The Student Health Center has issued the following guidelines:

  1. Do not panic. Even those who have been infected by this virus generally have very mild illness.
  2. Stay home or in your room if you're a residential student, and minimize interactions with others. During any essential interaction -- including with your roommates or family -- you should maintain a 6-foot distance.
  3. Contact the Student Health Center or your medical provider for guidance.

The Student Health Center has issued additional information on its website (pdf). The incubation period of COVID-19 is 2-14 days, which means there is no test that will detect the disease minutes or hours after you have contracted it. Based on the nature of your exposure, your health care professional will tell you what symptoms to look for, how to practice quarantine if deemed appropriate and when to consider testing.

In order for a person to become infected by COVID-19, they need to be exposed to a certain number of infectious particles for a certain amount of time. Close-contact exposures, such as kissing, sharing toothbrushes, cups, being coughed or sneezed on, or being within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period, are generally required for infection. Exposures that do not meet these criteria are generally not adequate to transmit the disease and do not necessarily require testing.

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The Student Health Center notes that the efficacy of mask wearing, hand washing and physical distancing of at least six feet are extremely effective at preventing this disease. If you happen to get closer than six feet to someone, correct the situation promptly. Fewer than 15 cumulative minutes of exposure in a 24-hour period is highly unlikely to result in transmission unless an infected person sneezes or coughs directly on you.