Knowing what to do during the COVID-19 pandemic can be confusing. Below are answers
to frequently asked questions about COVID-19, testing, quarantine and more.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms can range from very mild to severe. Also, symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. These are the most common symptoms of COVID-19:
- Muscle pain
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
Learn more at UofSC’s COVID19 Basics webpage.
What are medical conditions that put me at higher risk for complications?
People of any age with the following medical conditions are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19:
- Kidney disease
- Lung disease
- Weakened immune systems
- Heart conditions
- Sickle cell
Learn more at the CDC’s website.
Do I have to wear a face covering?
The university requires that face coverings be worn at all times inside all campus buildings, residence hall common areas and on university shuttles. Only exceptions are if you are in your own residence hall room, private office or you are eating inside campus dining facilities. Everyone on campus in outdoor areas is expected to wear a face covering whenever physical distancing (six feet or more) is difficult or the risk of infection is high. Failure to wear a face covering when required may result in student conduct sanctions. Stay up-to-date on any changes to this policy at the UofSC Face Coverings webpage.
Should I get tested?
Yes, the university strongly encourages every member of the campus community to get tested for COVID-19.
How do I get a COVID-19 test?
Saliva-based testing is available FREE to current UofSC students, faculty and staff that do not have any symptoms like fever, cough or shortness of breath. Testing is available 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Monday through Friday at Davis Field II. Saliva-based testing is available for faculty and staff 12:30-2:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at 650 Lincoln. Learn more about this NEW resource developed by the College of Pharmacy at sc.edu/salivatest. Targeted student nasal swab testing is available 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, like fever, cough or shortness of breath, you should contact your health care provider to be evaluated. Students should login to MyHealthSpace and request a telemedicine appointment for an evaluation and if necessary a test.
Faculty and staff can request a COVID-19 tests from their personal physician, get an at-home tests, local/national pharmacies or at a community testing site. Learn more at our Off-Campus Testing webpage.
You can also get a COVID-19 test at a community testing event. The South Carolina department of health maintains a webpage with a searchable database of community testing events in South Carolina.
What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?
If you were tested on campus, you will be contacted by a University Health Services representative as soon as possible to inform you of your positive result. They will provide you with guidance, set you up with a case manager and nurse and give you information about the isolation process. They will also conduct a contact tracing interview to see if you had close contact with anyone. Note that by state law, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) has to be informed of all positive cases and may contact you as well.
If you were symptomatic before your test, please self-quarantine in your residence hall room or apartment while waiting for your results.
If you were tested at a non-university location, please upload your positive test result to MyHealthSpace. This is critical to assist the university in managing your needs and to notify contact tracers of your results. Just login using their UofSC username and password and then on the next screen their date of birth. Then, click on Messages tab and then click on New Message button. Send message with attachment to I want to UPLOAD my COVID-19 Test Result.
What is Contact Tracing?
Contact Tracing is a standard disease control measure that is used by public health professionals as a key tool for stopping the spread of contagious diseases like tuberculosis, hepatitis, measles, mumps and now, COVID-19. Effective contact tracing relies on conducting interviews with individuals that test positive to trace who they have been in close contact with to make sure those individuals get the care they need and do not spread COVID-19 to others. If you get a call from a contact tracer, answer all questions honestly. The information gathered will be private and used to protect our community. Failure to assist in contact tracing may result in student conduct sanctions.
What is considered a ‘Close Contact’?
A ‘close contact’ is defined as being within 6 feet of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 for 10-15 minutes without appropriate face coverings, physical distancing and/or not washing or sanitizing their hands. The virus is spread primarily from person to person through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. It is be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that is contaminated with the virus and then touching one’s own mouth, eyes or nose.
How do I provide my COVID-19 results?
If you were tested on campus, your results will be uploaded automatically to your MyHealthSpace account.
If you were tested at an off-campus testing facility, you will need to upload your results to your MyHealthSpace account. This is the same secure portal where you uploaded your immunization records. Just login using their UofSC username and password and then on the next screen their date of birth. Then, click on Messages tab and then click on New Message button. Send message with attachment to I want to UPLOAD my COVID-19 Test Result.
Can I speak to a counselor while in quarantine or isolation?
Yes, the Counseling & Psychiatry department has expanded its telecounseling and telepsychiatry services. You can schedule an appointment on MyHealthSpace or by calling 803-777-5223.
Can I talk to a doctor while in quarantine or isolation?
Absolutely, telemedicine will be the primary way on-campus healthcare professionals will contact you while in quarantine or isolation. Also, there will be nurse check-ins and case managers in contact with you during this time either by email, MyHealthSpace or phone calls.
What is physical distancing?
Physical distancing is not just one thing. It is staying home as much as possible, staying at least 6 feet away from others and avoiding large gatherings of people indoor or outdoors. Failure to physical distance when required may result in student conduct sanctions. Learn more about physical distancing at UofSC.
What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?
Isolation prevents the spread of an infectious disease –like COVID-19– by separating and restricting the movement of sick people from people who are not sick. It lasts until the patient meets a certain criteria to be considered healthy. Learn more about isolation at the CDC website.
Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease –like COVID-19– to see if they become ill. Quarantines are typically used for individuals who are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19. In particular, individuals who have had close contact with someone confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19. Guidance calls for a 14-day quarantine for the coronavirus and regular and monitoring of for symptoms. Learn more about quarantine at the CDC website.
Violating quarantine or isolation orders issued by a healthcare professional is a serious student conduct offense that can result in removal from university housing, a semester suspension, a yearlong suspension or even expulsion.
In addition, the State of South Carolina is operating under a State of Emergency due to the pandemic. Violating a Public Health Order during could result in fines and even jail time.
What Care Will be Available in quarantine or isolation?
Students who are quarantined or isolated will be have several types of care available. Telemedicine visits with provider, nurse check-ins, symptom monitoring, patient education materials and other case management services will be available. Learn more about what to expect in quarantine or isolation here.
If I get sick during isolation, what hospitals are available for me?
Students experiencing worsening symptoms while in isolation may be referred to an emergency department of a local hospital for hospitalization. Local hospitals include:
When does quarantine or isolation end?
Each person can experience COVID-19 differently. Individuals will be cleared from isolation or quarantine based on their condition and the advice of their healthcare provider.
Generally, you can be around others after:
- 10 days since symptoms first appeared AND
- 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND
- COVID-19 symptoms have improved (for example, cough, shortness of breath)
What happens if I do not follow quarantine or isolation?
During a public health emergency, like the COVID-19 pandemic, breaking quarantine or isolation is a serious offense and puts other members of our community at unnecessary risk of contracting the coronavirus. It also is against the Code of Conduct. The Office of Student Conduct will take disciplinary action for violations of university public health directives. Violating quarantine or isolation could lead to being removed from on-campus housing, suspension and even expulsion. Read the university’s quarantine and isolation policy here.