STORRS, Conn. -- With the coronavirus spreading through colleges at alarming rates, universities are scrambling to find places to isolate the thousands of students who have caught COVID-19 or been exposed to it.
Some schools are designating COVID-19 dorms, others are sending infected students home and some schools have decided to scrap or postpone in-person learning until they can figure out how to keep infection rates at acceptable levels.
Dr. Joseph Gerald, a public health expert at the University of Arizona, said the idea of identifying cases, contact tracing and quarantining is the right approach.
He said it’s just going to be hard to do in dorms and other places where students congregate.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid non-essential travel.