Protect Yourself

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) believes at this time that symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include:

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Difficulty breathing

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  • What happens if I was exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19?

    If you were a close contact of someone diagnosed with COVID-19, you would be contacted by Austin Public Health and be given guidance on what steps are recommended or required. You will probably be asked to self-isolate. Instructions for self-isolation can be found below or on the University Health Services website.

  • What is close contact?

    According to the CDC page on COVID-19:

    Close contact is defined as—

    Being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 patient for a prolonged period; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a COVID-19 patient

    -- or --

    Having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 patient (e.g., being coughed on)

    If such contact occurs while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment or PPE (e.g., gowns, gloves, NIOSH-certified disposable N95 respirator, eye protection), criteria for PUI consideration are met.

  • I went to a gathering and was notified that another attendee later tested positive for COVID-19. What do I do?

    If you were at a gathering but did not have, or do not know whether you had, close contact (prolonged face-to-face exposure) with a person who was later diagnosed with COVID-19, then self-monitor. Instructions for self-monitoring can be found below or on the University Health Services website.

  • What does it mean to self-monitor?

    Self-monitoring means people should monitor themselves for fever by taking their temperatures twice a day and remain alert for cough or difficulty breathing. If they feel feverish or develop measured fever, cough, or difficulty breathing during the self-monitoring period, they should self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a health care provider to determine whether medical evaluation is needed. Students should call the UHS Nurse Advice Line at 512-475-6877. Staff and faculty with UT Select insurance may contact the 24/7 Nurseline provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield at 888-315-9473 or seek care from UT Health Austin or their personal healthcare provider.

  • I’ve had close contact with someone (friend, colleague, roommate, classmate) who has been told to self-isolate because of possible exposure. What do I do?

    If you have had close contact with someone who was told to self-isolate, you should self-monitor for the next 14 days. Instructions for self-monitoring can be found below or on the University Health Services website. Stay in close communication with that person so you may know whether that person’s status changes.

  • What does it mean to self-isolate?

    Self-isolation serves to temporarily separate people who have been in an area of public health concern to help protect their health and that of their community.

    Individuals are required to self-isolate:

    • May not return to class, work, activities or university events until 14 days have passed. Students needing assistance finding accommodations for self-isolation should fill out the COVID-19 Support Form for support and guidance. Faculty or staff members being required to self-isolate should notify their direct supervisor.

    • Stay home except to get medical care, and call ahead before doing so.

    • Report their health status daily to university health staff.

    • Separate themselves from others who also share their residence.

    • Monitor their temperature twice a day for fever. Fever is defined as ≥100.4F or 38C.

    • If a cough, difficulty breathing or fever develop during the 14-day period of isolation, do the following:

    • Avoid contact with others. Follow precautions to prevent the spread of the disease.

    • Call ahead before going to a health care facility. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. They may want to provide specific instructions about how to come to the facility and where to go once you arrive to minimize the risk of exposing others, or they may give instructions for self-care at home.

    • Students. Call the University Health Services Nurse Advice Line at 512-475-6877.

    • Faculty and staff returning from official university travel should contact the HealthPoint Occupational Health Program at 512-471-4647 Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

    • Faculty and staff returning from personal or recreational travel should contact UT Health Austin at 833-882-2737 or their personal health care provider. Those with UT Select insurance may contact the 24/7 Nurseline provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield at 888-315-9473.

  • Should I call University Health Services or my provider if I’m worried?

    If you have not been notified by a public health official that you were a close contact and you are not exhibiting any symptoms, we ask that you do not call. Health care systems can easily become overwhelmed during pandemics and must prioritize assessing and treating those who are ill. Please review the following resources on this page and the University Health Services website. You can send questions via the link on this page. You should expect significant delays in response time, and we appreciate your patience.

  • What are symptoms of COVID-19?

    Flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and sore throat. For most people who have had the illness, symptoms were mild and resolved after several days.

  • Will the university be able to provide information to the public about students, faculty or staff with possible cases or diagnoses of COVID-19 infection?

    Due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and campus privacy policies, the university is unable to disclose specific information (e.g., residence location or class attendance) for individuals with suspected infection. If necessary, however, APH will contact people who have been in close contact with an individual who has a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19-infection.

    The university will appropriately notify the public regarding possible cases or diagnoses.

  • How can people help stop stigma related to COVID-19?

    Fear and anxiety can lead to social stigma toward those of Chinese or other Asian descent. Health officials emphasize that a person of any ethnicity who has not recently traveled to China or been in contact with a person who is confirmed as or suspected of having COVID-19 is at no greater risk of acquiring and spreading COVID-19 than anyone else. Read more about stopping stigma and clarifying misinformation, and share information with others.

  • How can students and employees access telemedicine and telecounseling services?