Exposure Information

How to Determine if You’ve Been Exposed to COVID-19

Following guidance from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD), you should consider yourself as exposed to COVID-19 if you can answer yes to all of the following:

  • Were you within 6-feet of the person who tested positive for 15 or more minutes?
  • Were both of you not wearing face coverings during this time?
  • Was this interaction within a period that started 48 hours prior to when they got tested or their first symptom started up to the time the person finished isolation?

You also may be identified as having been exposed by the UNL Public Health Advocacy Team or a contact tracer from the LLCHD. If you’re uncertain if you’ve been exposed, it’s best to assume that you have, especially if the person who tested positive lives in the same room/household with you.

What Do I Do if I Was Exposed?

If you have been exposed, your course of action depends on whether or not you are vaccinated, how long ago you were fully vaccinated, if you have received a booster, and if you’ve recently tested positive.

Unvaccinated or Not Recently Vaccinated**

  • Quarantine where you live for 5 days
  • Diligently wear a face covering when around anyone for 10 days
    • During this period, do not remove your face covering in the presence of others. This includes places like dining halls, restaurants, and gyms.
  • Get a UNL saliva test 5 days after exposure or if you develop symptoms during the 10 days
    • If your UNL saliva test is negative 5 days after exposure, you can leave your home but continue to wear a face covering when around anyone for the full 10 days.

    ** Not recently vaccinated means more than 5 months after your final shot of Pfizer, Moderna or any WHO-approved vaccine or more than 2 months after a shot of J&J AND not boosted

    Individuals in self-quarantine should separate themselves from others, including not going to in-person classes, work, or social/religious gatherings.

    Note: If you have an ongoing high-risk exposure to a positive case who is unable to isolate (i.e., a household contact who lives with you), you should remain at home while the positive person completes at least 5 days of isolation. After their isolation ends, your own quarantine of a minimum of 5 days begins as outlined above.

    Vaccinated Recently or Boosted**

    • No need to quarantine
    • Diligently wear a face covering when around anyone for 10 days
    • Get a UNL saliva test 5 days after exposure or if you develop symptoms during the 10 days

    ** Vaccinated recently or boosted means you are within 5 months of your final shot of Pfizer, Moderna or any WHO-approved vaccine or within 2 months of a shot of J&J OR you’ve received a booster shot.

    Tested Positive in the Last 90 days

    • No need to quarantine
    • Diligently wear a face covering when around anyone for 10 days
    • Do NOT get a UNL saliva test. If you experience symptoms, consult a medical professional immediately.

    Why Is It Important to Quarantine

    Quarantine is a public health strategy used to limit contact between someone who may have been exposed to the virus and other members of the community. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms (asymptomatic). Quarantine helps keep the rest of the community healthy and is how we look out for our fellow Huskers.

    What Should I Do If I Start Experiencing Symptoms?

    If an individual is experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 (fever/chills, cough, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath, fatigue, new loss of sense of smell, or body ache), they should get a UNL saliva test immediately. You may also want to consult a medical provider. The University Health Center can be reached at 402-472-5000.

    If a COVID-19 test comes back positive, you’ll need to follow isolation guidance.

    Where Should I Quarantine?

    In most cases you can safely quarantine where you currently live. Please follow all guidance in the How to Quarantine section below.

    If you live in a residence hall, view quarantine guidance for students living in University Housing.

    How Do I Quarantine?

    While observing quarantine, please follow this guidance:

    • Notify your roommate(s) or others in your household that you are quarantining.
    • Stay in your room and out of public or shared spaces.
    • Do not go to work, in-person classes, events, or other social or religious gatherings. Students should be sure to notify instructors that they won’t be attending in-person classes.
    • Do not go to restaurants to eat. Only prepare meals at home, get take-out, or have food/meals delivered.
    • Limit contact with others, including roommates, family, friends, and partners.
    • Stay six feet away from other individuals at all times.
    • Wear a face covering any time you leave your bedroom.
    • Cough or sneeze into your arm and never cough in the direction of someone else.
    • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Wash/sanitize after coughing/sneezing directly into your hands or after handling used tissues.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid sharing household items. Do not share drinking glasses, towels, eating utensils, bedding, or any other items until the quarantine period has ended.
    • Keep your surroundings clean. While the virus is not spread very well from contact with soiled household surfaces, try to clean surfaces that are shared with others, such as door knobs, telephones, and bathroom surfaces (or any other object that you sneeze or cough on), with a standard household disinfectant such as Clorox wipes. Wash your hands after cleaning the area.
    • Self-monitor for signs of possible infection, including fever (100.4 degrees F or 38.0 degrees C or higher, measured twice a day) or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, recent loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. In the event of an emergency, call 911.

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