As Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has announced, and as Father Linnane has shared with our community, there is now evidence of community spread in Maryland and in other parts of the country. As such, please follow Gov. Hogan’s recommendations including staying home as much as possible, limiting contact with others, watching closely for symptoms, and calling your provider if you are sick.
Please refer to Loyola's Plan for Reopening as well as our FAQ below for some information to best guide your concerns. Please do not hesitate to call our office as well, 410-617-5055, we are always happy to help!
Is health center staff available at this time?
Yes, our health center staff is still available right now during normal business hours, Mon-Fri 8:30-5pm. However, in accordance with directives regarding elevated state precautions against the spread of COVID-19 in Maryland, Student Health Services has needed to modify office operations. In order to minimize the potential spread of illness, our physical office is closed and we are no longer accepting walk-in patients at this time.
We are still available for telehealth consults over the phone. Please call us with any health-related concerns at 410-617-5055 or watch our IGTV video which reviews how to still connect with our providers from home. If you have a concern after normal business hours, please refer to our after-hours information.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19 have been recently updated and are similar to what you might feel with a bad cold, moderate respiratory illness, or seasonal influenza. They can appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure to the virus and may include:
- Fever (temperature above 100.4)
- Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
- Muscle Pain
- Sore Throat
- New loss of taste or smell
The CDC also has a helpful COVID-19 self-checker system you can access and get helpful information.
How is COVID-19 spread and what does "evidence of community spread" mean?
COVID-19 is now thought to spread mainly via close contact from person-to-person. The virus has now been shown to spread easily between those in close contact with one another (within 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, etc. Some people without symptoms may even be able to spread the virus, which is why social distancing still remains so important. The virus that causes COVID-19 has now been shown to be spread easily and sustainably within the community in some affected areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area which includes some who are not sure of the source of their infection.
What should I do if I have been advised to self-quarantine?
Self-quarantines are meant to limit the movement of people who have been potentially exposed to the virus but have not tested positive for it. You may be perfectly healthy, but this is the best way to prevent the possible spread of a communicable disease. While under self-quarantine, you should stay at home to self-monitor for the entirety of the virus' 14-day incubation period. Because the virus can be present in a person without symptoms, healthcare providers use this period as a precaution in order to monitor for any potential symptoms that might arise. If you develop any flu-like symptoms such as fevers, cough, and shortness of breath, please contact your healthcare provider. While under self-quarantine, it is expected that you try to remain at home with your family, but out of caution, you should sleep in your own bed, use a separate bathroom and maintain general germ contagion precautions (i.e. good hand hygiene, avoiding sharing cups/drinks, covering your mouth when coughing, etc). It’s also advisable to avoid public transportation at this time, as well as limiting public activities.
What does the term "social-distancing" mean?
Social distancing is a deliberate increase of the physical space between two people in order to help stop the spread of illness and infection. This often includes limiting social contact, work and schooling among healthy individuals in order to delay transmission and reduce the size of a growing outbreak. Avoiding public spaces and unnecessary social gatherings, especially events with large numbers of people or crowds, will lower the chance that you will be exposed to COVID-19, as well as to other infectious diseases like flu. If you do have to be out in the public, it's advisable to maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and anyone else around you. It is also recommended to avoid physical contact with others in social situations, including handshakes, hugs and kisses. The CDC has more information regarding social distancing here.
Should I wear a face mask?
Yes, the CDC advises all people who go out in public to wear a face mask in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. This is especially important in public settings where social distancing is hard to maintain, i.e. the grocery store. The CDC has now discovered that a significant portion of patients infected with COVID-19 do not have symptoms and that the virus can be transmitted to others even before exhibiting symptoms. This is especially concerning as this means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity (i.e. speaking, coughing, sneezing) even if they do not appear outwardly sick or symptomatic.
The CDC has created a helpful tutorial showing how you can make you own cloth mask at home. It is important to note that while masks are being advised, they do not replace the importance of maintaining proper hand hygiene and social distancing measures.
What if I want to be tested for COVID-19?
Please note that Student Health Services does not have the testing available on-site at this time. If you have questions regarding testing, we recommend you either call your primary doctor at home or call the health center to complete a phone screen at 410-617-5055. If you are local and our providers feel you meet the criteria for testing, we will direct you to the COVID-19 Hotline through Sinai Hospital at 410-601-2222. A triage nurse there will then speak with you and direct your care/testing. COVID-19 testing is also available at MedStar Prompt Care. To expedite the process, you can utilize their MedStar E-visit option, where a provider will speak with you and set you up with appointment for testing if indicated. Medstar has also created a new live COVID-19 assessment tool which is helpful to answer additional questions or testing concerns.
Please refer to the CDC testing overview for more information about testing options, criteria for testing, understanding your results, etc.
What should I do if I have tested positive for COVID-19*?
If you have tested positive for COVID-19, please notify us here at the health center at 410-617-5055. Here are several things that you can do to help limit the spread of the virus to people in your home and community.
- Stay home except to get medical care - Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Also avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
- Separate yourself from other people as much as possible in your house - you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. If available, you should also use a separate bathroom.
- Call ahead before visiting your doctor - If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This helps the office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
- Wear a facemask - When around other people (i.e. sharing room or before arriving to doctor's office), you should wear a facemask. If you are not able to wear a mask (i.e. because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with you should not stay in the same room with you, or they should wear a mask if they enter your room.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes - Throw used tissues in a lined trash can and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid sharing personal household items - You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day - Use a household spray, wipe, or disinfectant to clean high touch surfaces which include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
- Monitor your symptoms - Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (i.e. difficulty breathing). Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19 and put on a facemask before you enter the office.
- Discontinuing home isolation - Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis after speaking with your healthcare provider
*If you are an employee and have tested positive for COVID-19 or are providing direct care to a sick family member/household contact with COVID-19, please make sure to complete the online COVID-19 illness registry with Human Resources.
What if I have been told that I have been a direct contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?
If you have been notified that you have been a contact of someone who has tested positive (or being tested) for COVID-19, the most important thing you can do is self-quarantine (see more information in question above). If you start exhibiting any concerning symptoms (i.e. fever, cough, shortness of breath, flu-like symptoms) in your 14 day self-quarantine, you should notify your healthcare provider immediately. If you are on campus, please call the health center directly at 410-617-5055. The CDC also has helpful information for what to do should you be caring for someone with confirmed COVID-19.
What if I have been in contact with someone ELSE who was in direct contact with a positive case of COVID-19?
At this time, the CDC does not recommend testing, symptom monitoring or special management for people in contact with others who are asymptomatic and had potential exposures to COVID-19. Essentially, this means that a "contact of a contact" is not a high risk concern and you should just continue to maintain effective infection control management, social distancing, etc.
When am I no longer contagious after being infected with COVID-19?
It is best to assume that you might be contagious with COVID-19 for some time, so it's best to take precautions to avoid infecting others. If you are recovering from COVID-19, be sure to follow the direct instructions from your healthcare provider. It will likely be advised that you will be able to discontinue home isolation under ALL the following conditions:
- At least 3 days being fever-free (without the use of fever-reducing medications such as Advil or Tylenol)
- An improvement in respiratory symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath)
- At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. Individuals with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms may discontinue home isolation when at least 7 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test and have had no subsequent illness.
If you are caring for someone at home with COVID-19, this CDC guide provides some useful information as well.
Can I be infected with COVID-19 more than once?
As COVID-19 is a relatively new illness, data is still unclear as to whether or not you can be reinfected. Currently, there isn't enough information to determine if COVID-19 exposure can cause any immunity to the virus itself, or if obtaining any immunity would provide life-long protection against further reinfection. Researchers and scientists are working tirelessly to determine the best answer to this as new evidence becomes available.
How can I prevent infection with COVID-19?
At this time, there is no vaccine to prevent infection with COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself from infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Besides maintaining social distance, there are several preventative measures you can take to help limit the spread of viruses in general, including:
- Avoidance of sharing personal household items, including glasses, cups, eating utensils, etc.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Using an alcohol-based sanitizer is advisable if soap and water are not available.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Remaining at home if you are sick, unless you require medical care. This includes avoiding going to work, class, public areas, or the use of public transportation.
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and promptly throwing it away.
- Disinfecting and cleaning frequently touched objects and surfaces (i.e. tables, doorknobs, toilets, phones, keyboards).
What travel precautions should I keep in mind?
We strongly urge you to stay informed and follow the latest travel advisories from the CDC. There is some additional information here regarding travel, both in the US and worldwide.
What if I am experiencing stress or anxiety related to the COVID-19 situation?
We realize that following COVID-19 in the news can cause stress and anxiety. Students should not hesitate to contact staff members in the Counseling Center, Campus Ministry, or the Student Life office, all of whom are prepared to support you. While students are away from campus due to the Coronavirus response plan, the Counseling Center has now set up remote services as well. If you need assistance outside regular business hours, please call the department of public safety at 410-617-5911, and they will connect you with someone who can help. Employees may contact Loyola's Employee Assistance (EAP) Program at 1-800-765-0770.
Where can I find additional information about COVID-19?
The Emergency Information notification details the plan for students moving forward now with the University's preparedness planning. The Loyola Coronavirus updates page is also regularly maintained and features a detailed list of FAQs specific for students, employees, etc. For additional information about Coronavirus, including signs and symptoms, transmission and risk of exposure, and what to do if you are exhibiting symptoms, please refer to the latest updates from the CDC website. The World Health Organization (WHO) has been posting daily reports as this situation continues to evolve. These reports are especially helpful for tracking locations of new confirmed cases as well as updates on preparedness and response efforts.
Additional helpful link/handouts can be accessed below:
5 Facts about COVID-19 (CDC)
COVID-19 FAQ (CDC)
Sick with COVID-19 (CDC)
What to know about COVID-19 to protect yourself (CDC)