Students who are feeling ill with any type of respiratory symptoms, whether you have a fever or not, please do not attend class on campus. Call Health Services during business hours at 651-631-5246 or call the COVID Response Hotline after hours at 651-631-5353 for further directions.
Exposure (Close Contact): MDH defines a COVID exposure as someone who has been within 6 feet of a confirmed COVID positive individual for 15 minutes or more throughout a 24-hour period. It is important to note though that even shorter periods of time or longer distances can still spread the virus. If you feel that you have been exposed, please do not attend class on campus until you have talked to a Health Services staff member or someone from the COVID Response Hotline.
To report COVID -19 exposure or positive result, use the COVID-19 Reporting portal.
If you have been instructed to sign a release form for your isolation/quarantine period, please click here to sign the release form.
Coronavirus (officially COVID-19) is the name of the illness people get when infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the official name given to the actual virus). It was first identified in December 2019 and since then, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global pandemic of COVID-19. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and now with this new virus COVID-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in most people. The virus is a public health concern because:
- It is new and we currently have a limited understanding of the virus.
- Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have caused severe illness.
- Older adults and those with underlying chronic medical conditions or compromised immune systems may be at increased risk of complication. At times, even those who are younger and do not have underlying conditions have experienced severe illness and death.
While great advancement and strides have been made in the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still ongoing and there are some recent changes that have resulted in increasing COVID-19 cases once again. The Delta strain has become the dominant COVID-19 virus in Minnesota and beyond, proving itself to be more transmissible compared to past versions of the virus, spreading about twice as easily from one person to another.
- Unvaccinated people, including younger age groups, are at risk of potential severe illness.
- In addition, with the Delta variant, fully vaccinated people may be able to pass the virus to others. However, fully vaccinated people are less likely to be infected, and if a vaccinated person becomes infected, the illness will likely be mild.
Infected individuals can spread the virus through respiratory droplets when they cough, sneeze or exhale. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby and be breathed in; on surfaces and objects that other people touch. Infected people may be able to spread the disease before they have symptoms or even if they are asymptomatic. Research has shown that 30-45% of people infected do not develop symptoms.
If you would like to learn more about your risk level in the county you reside in, click here.
The most common symptoms can include the following; fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, congestion, and the loss of taste or smell.
Other less common symptoms include:
If you have questions or concerns, please call Health Services at 651-631-5246 or ask your primary care provider.
If you are experiencing any of these emergency symptoms listed below, call 911 right away. If you are a student living on campus, please call Public Safety 651-631-5310 after you have called 911.
- Blue lips or face
- Consistent pressure on the chest
- Trouble focusing/concentrating
- Difficulty being aroused/staying awake
All students with COVID-like symptoms or exposure must be reported to UNW via the COVID-19 Self Report Portal, by emailing Health Services at firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling Health Services at 651-631-5246. If you have symptoms or have been exposed, please get tested. Call Health Services for a same-day appointment to get tested.
- IF YOU ARE FULLY VACCINATED AND HAVE SYMPTOMS (with or without exposure), please follow the reporting procedure stated above.
If you are still unsure of whether or not you should get tested, click on this link to read Minnesota Department of Health’s current recommendations.
Students who have symptoms and choose not to be tested, must isolate for at least 10 full days until their symptoms have improved and have been fever-free for 24 hours without taking a fever-reducing medication.
If you choose a PCR test where you have to wait for results, keep in mind that while waiting, you should stay home and separate yourself from other people in your home as much as possible. Wash your hands often and clean frequently touched surfaces.
What test options does Health Services have?
Rapid Antigen Test:
Our most commonly used test is the nasal rapid antigen test. It is an excellent option and available for those with or without symptoms. This test detects protein fragments specific to the Coronavirus. Results are received within 15-20 minutes of the test time. This test also includes detecting Influenza A and B strains. The rapid antigen test is $47.00. For students, the cost is charged directly to the student account. For employees with UNW insurance, it is covered by your insurance company. For employees without UNW health insurance, $47.00 is due at the time of the test. A receipt is provided upon request (to submit to your insurance company for potential reimbursement).
Nasal PCR Test:
PCR testing is considered the “gold standard” in SARS-CoV-2 detection. This test actually detects RNA (or genetic material) that is specific to the virus and can detect the virus within days of infection, even those who have no symptoms. It is sent out to Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) for processing and results are generally back within 24-72 hours. This test is billed directly to your insurance company from HCMC. The cost is $75 for non-insured students, the charge to the insurance may differ. *Please be aware that if your health insurance denies this claim, the fee will be directly charged to your student account. Please bring a copy of your insurance card to your appointment.
Free Testing Options:
We have obtained a free rapid antigen test which is available for individuals with symptoms within a specific criteria. We will utilize that test whenever possible based on your symptoms; if the test is negative, you may be advised to have a follow up test for further confirmation.
We also have a free spit PCR test through VaultHealth. You can either set up an appointment through Health Services to have one of our nurses watch you complete the test, or set up a Zoom meeting through VaultHealth. You will be asked for your insurance, and if you do not have insurance MDH covers the cost. Once the specimen is sent out through UPS, the results will come back within 24-48 hours after the lab receives the package. It is important to note that you must not eat, drink, smoke, or chew anything for 30 minutes before your testing session.
Call for same-day appointments through Health Services at 651-631-5276.
Monday- Friday: 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM (See above for summer clinic days/hours)
2955 Centre Pointe Drive
Roseville, MN 55113
You can also follow this link to find an off-campus testing location near you.
Does Northwestern require students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
No. Northwestern does not require COVID vaccines for students or employees. Individuals are advised to seek information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines from personal health care providers. If you do not have a primary care provider and would like to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with one of the providers in UNW Health Services, please make an appointment.
If I get a COVID-19 Vaccination, what is next?
Once a person is fully vaccinated:
- Do they need to be tested for COVID-19?
If experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, fully vaccinated individuals need to be tested. Fully vaccinated individuals also need to follow testing requirements for travel and work as needed.
- Do they still need to wear face coverings and maintain 6 feet physical distancing?
Individuals who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear face coverings indoors or outdoors unless it is required by businesses or entities. Federal, state or local requirements may also require face coverings in various settings including but not limited to forms of public transportation and health care facilities.
- Per OSHA ETS (Emergency Temporary Standard), face coverings and physical distancing are still required in the UNW Health Services clinic.
- Do they need to quarantine if exposed to someone who tests positive to COVID-19?
If someone has completed COVID-19 vaccination (two doses in a two-dose series or one dose in a one-dose series) and is exposed, they do not need to quarantine if ALL the following are true:
- The COVID-19 exposure was at least 14 days after their vaccination series was fully completed.
- They do not currently have any symptoms of COVID-19.
- In August 2021, the CDC announced the following recommendation: Fully vaccinated people should be tested 3-5 days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
What to expect CDC handout (click to enlarge):
It is best to stay informed of the travel recommendations put forth by the CDC. This link outlines those recommendations and includes an interactive map in which you can determine the level of risk to an area you are considering. Travel may increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. Per CDC, travel should be delayed until you are fully vaccinated.
If you have necessary travel plans, all air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the United States.
As with all travel, please practice the following precautions:
- Clean your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
- Keep 6 feet of space between yourself and others
- Wear a mask
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Bring enough of your medications to last the entire trip
- Consider packing food or picking up food from the store, drive-thru or curbside pickup
Currently, there are no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 infection. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Here are good habits to practice to prevent the spread of infection:
- Wash your hands often, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available.
- Stay home when you're sick.
- If unvaccinated, it is recommended to continue wearing a face cover when unable to be physically distanced from others.
- Wear a face covering when a public setting.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with the inside of your elbow or your sleeve. If you use a tissue, do not reuse it. Throw it away and wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
If you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you may need to quarantine yourself.
Situations where you DO NOT need to quarantine due to a close contact exposure, but you will be asked to wear a well-fitted mask around others for a full 10 days and you may be asked to test on day 5 of your exposure. If you cannot wear a mask, stay home for 10 days:
- If you have had a lab-confirmed, recovered case of COVID-19 in the last 90 days and do not have current symptoms of COVID-19 OR
- If you have been boosted OR
- If you have completed the primary series of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last 5 months OR
- If you have completed the primary series of the J&J vaccine within the last 2 months.
Situations when you DO need to quarantine:
- If you completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine over 5 months ago and you are not boosted OR
- If you completed the primary series of J&J vaccine over 2 months and you are not boosted OR
- If you are unvaccinated against COVID-19.
How long to Quarantine for:
- Stay home for 5 full days.
- Get tested on Day 5. If your test is negative you can resume normal activities once approved by Health Services for return. Continue to wear a well-fitted mask around others for an additional 5 days.
- If you cannot wear a well-fitted mask, stay home for the full 10 days.
- If you develop symptoms at any point, get tested and stay home.
Follow these steps to properly quarantine yourself:
- Stay at home except for testing or needed medical care
- Stay away from people who are at high-risk for COVID-19. This includes older adults, those living in long-term care facilities, and people with health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, or weakened immune systems.
- If you start to feel sick, separate yourself from others in your household. Stay in a specific room and use a separate bathroom if possible.
- Do not use public transportation, ridesharing (such as Uber or Lyft), or taxis.
- Wear a mask.
- Avoid sharing personal household items. Do not share food, dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
*** If you work or volunteer in health care, or a congregate care setting, such as long-term care or a correctional facility, please check with your facility regarding your return to work/volunteer.
After stopping quarantine: Wear a mask for an additional 5 days, stay 6 feet from others when possible, wash hands, and avoid crowds or settings with people who are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
Notify Health Services of your exposure as soon as possible by using the COVID-19 Self Report Portal. Health Services will do its best to get back to you within a few hours.
Notify Health Services, and/or primary care clinic as soon as possible if you start to develop symptoms.
If you have flu-like symptoms, even if you have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, that include any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, loss of taste and/or smell, shortness of breath, muscle/body aches, sore throat you should get tested for COVID-19 at Health Services, your local primary care office or affiliated testing site. Please call your insurance carrier to get a list of local places you can go to get tested.
If you test positive for COVID-19 and are instructed to isolate, here are some tips to isolate properly:
- Do not go to work, school, or any other place outside the home. Stay at home for 5 days from when your symptoms started, until your symptoms are getting better and you have had no fever for the last 24 hours, without using medicine that lowers fevers.
- Stay away from others in your home. Stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom if you can.
- Avoid sharing personal household items. Do not share food, dishes, drinking glasses, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home. After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water. Clean all frequently touched surfaces in your home daily, including door knobs, light switches, or faucets.
- Wear a face mask if you need to be around people, and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Wash hands thoroughly afterwards.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
To deal with the sickness:
- Check your temperature at least twice a day, and record them.
- You can take Tylenol, Ibuprofen or Cold/Flu relief medications as directed on the package.
- Stop taking medication as soon as you start to feel better so you can monitor your temperature without the aid of fever reducers.
- Keep hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of fluids, eat small meals often.
- Alternate activity with rest, as you're able.
If you test positive and are symptomatic or if you've been sick with any type of respiratory illness, whether you've had a fever or not, it is highly recommended that you stay home until you are completely well. Stay home until all three of these things are true:
- You feel better- i.e: your cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms are better and
- It has been 5 full days since you first felt sick and
- You have not had a fever for at least 24 hours, without using fever reducing medications (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Nyquil/Dayquil, etc.).
How long to Isolate for:
If you test positive for COVID-19 (regardless of your vaccination status), day 1 of isolation starts the day after you were tested, or if you have symptoms, the day after your symptoms began.
- Stay home for 5 full days.
- If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can return to your normal activities but must meet the follow criteria and be approved by Health Services:
- symptoms resolving or improved
- fever-free for at least 24 hours without fever reducing medication
- Continue to wear a well-fitted mask around others for an additional 5 days.
- If you cannot wear a well-fitted mask, stay home for a full 10 days.
- Notify your close contacts and advise them to contact their health care provider for further instructions due to a close contact COVID-19 exposure. If the close contact is a UNW student, have them contact Health Services for further guidance.
- A close contact is defined as someone you have been around with closer than 6 feet for an accumulated time of 15 minutes or more, or have physical contact with such as hugging, kissing, etc.
If you have further questions or feel like you need to talk to a provider, call Health Services at 651-631-5246.
Office hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 AM- 4:30 PM (see homepage for summer hours)
Health Services is closed during weekends, academic breaks and holidays.
After hours, go to a doctor's office, urgent/urgency center or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your symptoms.
If you are currently being prescribed a medication through Health Services:
- Preferred method: send us a secure message via electronic medical system Medicat.
- You can call Health Services at 651-631-5246 to talk to a Health Services staff or provider.
Even as the pandemic is improving, the impact of COVID-19 may be causing some anxiety, fear and stress for people. Coping and managing with stress can help you and the people you care about. Here are some tips on how to cope if you find yourself in quarantine:
- Exercise- get your heart pumping with a fun-filled Zumba lesson or other exercise videos on YouTube. Whichever activity you choose, choose one that will take your mind off COVID-19.
- Cook or bake- you can finally perfect (or at least attempt) that dish you have been craving for so long.
- Do some cleaning or de-cluttering that you have been putting off for a while.
- Get your information from a reliable source, such as WHO, CDC, or MDH.
- When you feel overwhelmed or anxious, remember to take a deep breath- breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Go outside and take a walk, or get some fresh air.
- Take this opportunity to take a break from your normal routines and do some relaxing activities such as reading a good book, watching movies or a series that you haven't had time for.
- Remember, you can still stay connected with the people who are important to you, in person when appropriate or via FaceTime, Skype, Marco Polo (app),
- This document was put together by our counselors here at UNW on how to cope with mental health during COVID-19 and is a great resource to get tips on how to deal with anxieties that you may have with this pandemic and looking to God for calm and peace.
- Here is a video that can help you stay mentally healthy during this pandemic.
Below are some things to prepare if you will be living on campus:
- Advil (Ibuprofen) or Tylenol (Acetaminophen), or both
- Dayquil or Nyquil
- Mucinex (expectorant)
- Hand sanitizer for your backpack or purse
- Small cans of 7-up
- Extra Kleenex
- Warm fleece blanket for chills
- Icepack for forehead if you run a fever
- Cough drops
- Lotion (your hands can get dry from frequent handwashing, and it is a great protection from viruses and bacteria as well)
- Disinfectant wipe/spray to clean frequently touched surfaces
It is also highly recommended for you to carry a copy of your insurance card with you, and have a care plan if you become ill.
If I tested positive and have been instructed to isolate for 5 days, can I visit someone else who is in quarantine or isolation?
No, at this time per UNW policy we are asking that you do not do this.
What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?
Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. (cdc.gov)
What is the length of time I need to isolate or quarantine?
Someone from Health Services, Student Care, or Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will discuss the quarantine isolation/quarantines dates with you.
If you are positive for COVID-19 (symptomatic or asymptomatic) and are isolating, you will isolate from either the day after your symptoms started for 5 days and the 6th day is the return back to campus/normal routine, OR the day after you tested positive if asymptomatic for 5 days with the 6th day being your return back to campus date. You must be fever free, with symptoms improving, and without needing to take over the counter medications for at least 24 hours in order to return back to campus.
If you are in quarantine as a result of an exposure to a confirmed positive case, you will need to quarantine for a full 5 days starting the day after you had last close contact with that person.
- What if I am already fully vaccinated?
- See Quarantine and Isolation section
Who needs to report a positive COVID-19 result?
When do you need to contact Health Services?
If you are unvaccinated and have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
If you have any of the following symptoms: cough, fever, body aches, shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, or diarrhea.
If you would like to complete a COVID-19 test, please call Health Services at 651-631-5246
- If you would like to schedule an appointment or have other questions regarding your health and well-being.
What does it mean to be a close contact with someone?
You were within 6 feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more, masked or unmasked.
You are living in the same household or are the roommate of a COVID19 positive individual.
You were in direct contact with infectious secretions of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 during the infectious period (e.g. direct care of a COVID-19 positive individual, kissing, sexual activity).
How does COVID-19 spread?
Covid-19 spreads through respiratory droplets or small particles produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. A person may also get COVID-19 by touching surfaces or objects that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes.
What are some ways that I can reduce the risk of getting COVID-19?
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. The best times to wash your hands are before and after meals, after using the restroom, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or after caring for someone who is sick.
- If unvaccinated, it is strongly recommended to wear a mask and maintain 6 ft. distance when you are in a public setting and when around people who don't do not live in your household.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
What are my options for testing?
UNW offers testing in the health clinic Monday-Friday 8:30-4:30 PM. Please note we are not accepting walk-in appointments at this time. Please call or email to set up an appointment.
Our rapid antigen test is an excellent test which also tests for Influenza A and Influenza B. Results are available within 15-20 minutes. The test costs $47 and is billed to your student account after your visit. This may be reimbursable through your health insurance; please ask for a receipt prior to leaving your appointment.
We also offer a PCR COVID-19 test which is sent out to Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) for processing. This test is billed directly to your health insurance from HCMC. Results are generally returned within 24-72 hours. Please bring your insurance card with you to the appointment if you wish to have this test. If your insurance does not cover this test, you will receive a $75.00 charge on your student account to cover the cost of the test to UNW. Please check with your insurance company ahead of time to make sure they cover the cost of the test.
Alternative testing options:
If you have any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19, please call our office at 651-631-5246 and our staff will try to help you as best we can. Please know that we are here to help and serve you.