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.
On Wednesday March 18th, Loyola University Maryland released an updated statement announcing that online instruction has now been extended through the close of the academic school year. Please refer to our FAQ below for some information to best guide your concerns, and as always, please do not hesitate to call our office as well, 410-617-5055.
Is health center staff available at this time?
Yes, health center staff will be available during normal business hours, M-F 8:30-5pm. Please call us with any health-related concerns at 410-617-5055. In order to minimize the potential spread of illness, we are no longer accepting walk-in patients at this time. If you have a concern after normal business hours, please refer to our after-hours information.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms are similar to what you might feel with a bad cold, moderate respiratory illness, or seasonal influenza. These might include:
- Fever (temperature above 100.4)
- Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
The CDC also has a helpful COVID-19 self-checker system you can access and get helpful information.
How is COVID-19 spread?
This virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person-to-person. Currently, it's unclear how easily this virus is spreading between people. This is why CDC recommends that those patients who are currently infected be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.
What does it mean that there is now evidence of community spread of COVID-19?
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. The virus that causes COVID-19 has now been shown to be spread easily and sustainably within the community in some affected areas.
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?
You are likely hearing the term "social-distancing" a lot right now on the news and social media outlets. 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.
Should I wear a face mask?
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. In light of this new evidence, the CDC has released new recommendations that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go into public settings where social distancing is hard to maintain (i.e. grocery store), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is now being spread by infected people who have no symptoms.
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 are currently still on-campus, we recommend to please call the health center to complete a phone screen first at 410-617-5055. If 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.
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
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 other 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 readily maintained. 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 handouts can be access from the PDF links below:
5 Facts about COVID-19 (CDC)
COVID-19 FAQ (CDC)
Sick with COVID-19 (CDC)