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What happens when a student tests positive for COVID-19?

Written by on August 26, 2020

NORMAL, Ill. – Illinois State University is reporting 353 positive cases of COVID-19 on campus and a 19.3% positive rate. Cases are continuing to rise as the University begins to offer walk-up testing on campus.

If a student tests positive they are immediately contacted by the McLean County Health Department to begin contact tracing.

According to the Health Department Administrator Jessica McKnight, the department goes over all the people the individual had close contact with and could be at risk for developing COVID-19.

“From that list of contacts, the health department will reach out then not identify who gave us the information but let them know they were potentially exposed to COVID-19. They should quarantine for 14 days from that exposure,” said McKnight.

After contact tracing, students have the option to return to their permanent residence or home if they are able to. ISU Media Relations Director Eric Jome says the other option is a quarantine and isolation space in University Housing.

“We do have quarantine and isolation space that is set aside in university housing, specifically for that,” said Jome. “Anyone that would be in that quarantine or isolation space would have access to their own bathroom that they don’t have to share with others.”

Jome mentioned these students are being provided with meals and snacks by the University.

Assistant Director of Marketing, Training and Hospitality Erin Watts explains the process of how the meals are received.

“We don’t know the students that are in quarantine. We don’t have any of their information. We just know the location to drop it off and we leave it outside the door,” said Watts. “We are also very careful if they have any special dietary needs. We are more than happy to meet those.”

The health department advises people who think or know they have COVID-19 to stay home and isolate from others. They advise remaining isolated until after 10 days since symptoms first appeared, having 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving.

For updates on COVID-19 cases on Illinois State University’s campus visit here and daily updates on WZND.com.