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COVID-19 Updates: Stay Informed

Health and Prevention Letter

March 19, 2020

Campus Community:

At this time, there is a nationwide shortage of supplies to run the SARS-COV-2 lab test. Currently, the South Dakota Department of Health has a triage protocol for which specimens will be processed. Priority groups for testing at this time are:

  • Healthcare workers and first responders
  • Individuals who are 65 years of age and older
  • Individuals with underlying medical conditions including:
    • Heart disease
    • Lung disease
    • Diabetes
    • Immunosuppressed

Therefore, if you do not meet these above criteria, you will not be tested for COVID-19. Testing for influenza and strep throat can still be performed.

How can I protect myself from getting COVID-19?

COVID-19 is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

Precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are the same as those you would typically take during a normal flu season. 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or use your elbow to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. 
  • Avoid touching your face. 
  • If you take prescriptions, refill them now in the event you get sick 
  • Do not panic.  For 84% of COVID-19 patients, the symptoms are mild. 
  • Stay home if you are sick with cold or influenza-type symptoms to minimize risk of transmission to others 
  • Social distancing – keep your distance from others which is about 6 feet. Avoid crowded places and limit your activities in public.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces following CDC guidance for cleaning and disinfection

What should I do if I think I might have COVID-19? 

  • Even though you may not have been tested, but have symptoms, you may be considered presumptive positive for COVID-19.
  • People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home. Do not leave, except to get necessary medical care should your symptoms worsen. Currently there is no medication to prevent or cure COVID-19. Symptomatic care can include over the counter fever reducing medication, cough suppressants, and fluids.
  • Stay in touch with your primary healthcare provider. Please call your provider/local clinic prior to any clinic arrival to minimize exposure risks.
  • If your symptoms worsen, such as shortness of breath, contact your local emergency department or call 911.

For more information about COVID-19 and what to do, call:

    • SDSU Student Health Clinic and Counseling (8:00am-5:00pm): 605-688-4157
    • Avera: 1-877-AT-AVERA
    • Sanford Health: 605-333-4444 or 800-445-5788
    • South Dakota Department of Health COVID-19 info line: 1-800-997-2880

I have been asked to self-quarantine, what does that mean? 

If you have been told you must self-quarantine, you need to stay home for 14 days from the time your symptoms started or a potential exposure to COVID-19. Please refer to the CDC website for the most updated information and education.

Take these steps to monitor your health and practice social distancing:  

  1. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever (> or = to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit). Also, watch for cough or trouble breathing.  
  1. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds frequently.  
  1. Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not share meals, drinks, or utensils. Use your own bathroom if possible.  
  1. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work.  
  1. Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing.  
  1. Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public. Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).