Wabash College Coronavirus (COVID-19) Medical Information
The staff of the Wabash Student Health Center – Scott Douglas, M.D. ‘84 (Montgomery County Health Officer), John Roberts, M.D. ’83 (Deputy Montgomery County Health Officer), and Chris Amidon, BSN, RN, NCSN(College Nurse) – are working closely with the Wabash Administration to get students, faculty, and staff back to campus this fall. Informed by the latest data, science, and public health guidance, we are taking steps to create the most appropriate residential experience that will keep our community, including our most vulnerable populations, as safe as possible during the COVID-19 era.
There is absolutely no doubt that every member of the Wabash Community will have to work diligently to limit the effect of COVID-19 on our campus. This will be a true test of the Gentleman’s Rule – a responsibility to protect all members of the Wabash Family.
Student Health Center Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- We are considering the best ways to care for Wabash students, while maintaining the health and safety of students and the Health Center staff.
- We will be requiring all students to contact Nurse Amidon via email or telephone beforecoming to the Student Health Center. All students will be questioned about COVID-19 symptoms and potential exposures prior to being offered an appointment. We are anticipating utilizing a combination of in-person and telehealth visits.
General COVID-19 Information
- Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of COVID-19. If you are concerned you might have COVID-19, you can use the CDC Coronavirus Self-Checker chat bot to help you determine what type of help you might need.
- COVID-19 disease is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus that is spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets and likely from touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. It is extremely contagious.
- You do not have to be sick to spread the virus to others and you can catch the virus from someone who does not appear ill. It’s best to assume everyone is infected and act accordingly.
- COVID-19 causes the most severe illness and death in older persons, particularly those who have underlying health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, and kidney disease. However, many young people have died from COVID-19. It is important to note that we do have students on campus who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe illness and death. We have numerous faculty and staff who are older and have medical problems as well. We need to come together as a community to protect everyone, particularly the vulnerable persons on our campus.
What Can I Do to Stay Healthy?
- Practice physical distancing of at least six feet, wash your hands frequently and/or use hand sanitizer.
- Wear a cloth face mask when you are in public and are not able to stay six feet apart from those around you.
- Avoid people who look ill.
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Wipe down high-touch surfaces daily using a disinfectant (be sure and read the instructions).
- Eat healthy.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night on a regular schedule.
- Maintain a normal daytime schedule.
How Can I Reduce the Spread of COVID Virus?
- We know the virus spreads when people are in close contact with one another and that you don’t have to have any symptoms to spread the virus to others. When Wabash re-opens, we will require all students, faculty, and staff to wear cloth facemasks that cover the nose and mouth when they can’t maintain physical distancing of at least six feet. This requirement will apply everywhere on the Wabash campus, particularly living units.
- Everyone will need to practice frequent handwashing or cleaning their hands using at least 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer (see the link to handwashing while singing Old Wabashat the bottom of this page). This the most important thing you can do to reduce your chances of becoming infected. It is crucial that you avoid touching your face, mouth, nose or eyes.
- You should cough and sneeze into your elbow, sleeve or better yet use a tissue.
- We will strongly recommend that everyone limit in-person social interactions with visitors who are not part of the Wabash community. This includes gatherings such as parties, etc. If a person visits from outside our community, he or she must practice the prevention strategies listed above.
- We may ask you to quarantine if you are returning to campus from travel to a high-risk area, both in the U.S. and Internationally.
- The College is examining how to modify classroom use to adhere to recommended physical distancing and, potentially, considering alternate scheduling.
- For those students who become infected and are unable to leave campus (or it would not be wise to do so), the College will provide alternate housing for those in isolation or quarantine. COVID-positive students will be placed together in special living quarters.
- The College has stepped up and will continue its disinfection practices, and asks students, staff, and faculty to pitch in to ensure we all adhere to strategies to keep our environment clean.
- Students should bring a reliable thermometer with them to campus to monitor their temperature. Note that thermometers are difficult to find, so put your order in now. Everyone should bring a good supply of facial tissues (Kleenex) to cough and sneeze into and throw them away after use.
What Should I Do if I Think I Have COVID-19?
The CDC indicates the following symptoms are linked to COVID-19:
- Shortness of Breath
- Shaking with Chills
- Muscle Pain
- Sore Throat
- Loss of Taste/Smell
If you are experiencing these symptoms, stay home and contact Nurse Amidon in the Student Health Center. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your living unit, except to get medical care. Isolate yourself and do not visit public areas.
Call 911 immediately if you have any of these EMERGENCY WARNING SIGNS:
- Trouble Breathing
- Persistent Pain or Pressure in the Chest
- Confusion or Inability to Arouse or Wake Up
- Bluish Lips or Face
If you call 911, tell the operator you think you may have COVID-19, OR go to the Crawfordsville Emergency Roomnorth of Crawfordsville on US 231 (call ahead at 765.364.3132 and tell them you are coming and think you may have COVID-19).
- Read more about the symptoms of COVID-19. You can also use the CDC Coronavirus Self-Checker chat bot that will help you determine what type of help you need to seek.
- If you are sick and don’t have severe symptoms, ISOLATE YOURSELF AT HOME OR IN YOUR LIVING UNIT. If you are not on campus, contact your private health care provider for advice. If you are on campus, email Nurse Amidon or call the Student Health Center at 765.361.6265. Please review the CDC’s recommendations for self-isolation.
- Fortunately, 80% of people infected with the coronavirus will have mild disease and make a full recovery just by staying isolated and treating their symptoms.
What Should I Do if I Have Been Diagnosed with COVID-19?
Isolate yourself and follow the CDC Guidance on What to Do If You Are Sick and the Indiana State Department of Health Home Care Instructions. If you are not able to travel to your home to recover, Wabash will provide living space for you. Do not share cups, utensils, lip balm, e-cigarettes or other smoking devices, etc.
What Should I Do if I’ve Been Exposed to Someone Who Has COVID-19?
Contact the Student Health Center for advice. Depending on your exposure, you may need to be quarantined for 14 days from the last date you had contact with the infected person. This means you must stay at home or in your room on campus and monitor yourself for symptoms. Please read the CDC’s recommendations about quarantine.
What is the Difference Between Quarantine and Isolation?
Quarantine: Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Someone in self-quarantine stays separated from others, and they limit movement outside of their home or current place. A person may have been exposed to the virus without knowing it (for example, when traveling or out in the community), or they could have the virus without feeling symptoms. Quarantine helps limit further spread of COVID-19.
Isolation:Isolation is used to separate sick people from healthy people. People who are in isolation should stay home. In the home, anyone sick should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick” bedroom or space and using a different bathroom (if possible).
When Can I Go Back to School or Work if I Have Been Diagnosed With COVID-19?
Follow the CDC Guidance on Discontinuation of Isolation for Persons with COVID-19 Not in Healthcare Settings. You must contact the Student Health Center to get final clearance to return to class or work.
What’s the Best Way to Take Care of Someone Who Has COVID-19?
How Can I Get Tested for Infection?
- At the present time, the majority of testing is recommended for people who are having symptoms of COVID-19. This recommendation will change as more testing becomes available and as public health authorities develop a strategy for testing asymptomatic people.
- There are many tests available to check for active COVID-19 infection. Most of these are performed by inserting a swab into the nose to obtain a specimen. The specimen is then either sent to a lab for testing (most common) or tested using a rapid on-site test. Both tests are looking for the COVID-19 virus RNA fingerprint.
- We are not planning to offer COVID-19 testing in the Student Health Center at this time. We will continue to assess the availability and best practices for testing of Wabash students as the summer progresses, but will likely refer students to an off-site drive through location.
- There are not any blood tests that check for current infection.
How Can I Get Tested to Determine if I Have Immunity to COVID-19?
- We are still learning how the body responds to this virus and how we develop immunity. We don’t know how strong the immunity is, how long it might last, or if you can get infected again.
- Many antibody tests are being rapidly developed to determine if a person has been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. Only a small number of the tests have been approved by the FDA and their reliability appears highly variable. Antibody tests may miss those who have been exposed to the virus (false negative) or may indicate someone is immune when they are not (false positive).
- Note that receiving a positive antibody test (indicating you have may been exposed to the virus) does NOT guarantee that you are immune and that you are safe to stop protecting yourself and others by physical distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask.
- The bottom line is more studies need to be done on who should be getting antibody tests and when.
Is There a COVID-19 Vaccine?
There is not a vaccine available to protect against the COVID-19 virus. Many vaccines are under development with a few showing promise. It will likely be, at the earliest, a year before the general population can receive a vaccine.
What Medications Can I Use to Treat My COVID-19 Symptoms?
We currently don’t have any medications that appear to be effective in treating the disease. Symptoms such as headaches, body aches, and fever can be treated by use of medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Drink plenty of fluids and rest as much as possible.
What If I Have a Mental Health Emergency?
Being cooped up inside and having limited social interactions can be taxing to anyone and can also cause anxiety. Students have access to the Wabash Counseling Center during the academic year. Contact Jamie Douglas or Laura Dolph to arrange a virtual or telephone visit. You can also call and leave a message for Jamie at 765.361.5592 or Laura at 765.361.6252.
COVID-19 INTERNET RESOURCES