Isolation and Exposures

Please note that isolation and quarantine guidance may vary based on specific circumstances, including for health care personnel and the immunocompromised. This webpage provides general guidance. Please seek additional guidance from your local health department or primary care provider.

Testing Positive for COVID-19 and Isolation

As soon as you test positive for COVID-19, please report your results to Columbus Public Health COVID-19 Self-Report Survey
 
Isolation separates and restricts the movement of those with a contagious disease from those who are not sick. 

Guidance for people who test positive for COVID-19: 

  • Isolate at home for at least five days (from the onset of COVID-19 symptoms (link is external) or from the date of test for asymptomatic positive individuals). 
  • You can exit isolation and resume normal activities, while masked, after five days if you have no fever for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and no other symptoms (or your symptoms are generally resolving). 
  • Once you exit isolation, continue to wear a well-fitted mask for five additional days when in all environments near others (within six feet, especially indoors). If you share a living space with others, you should  remain masked at all times.
  • If you are immunocompromised (as diagnosed by a physician), please consult with your health care provider because your time in isolation may be longer. 
  • Individuals working in health care settings may receive additional isolation guidance. 
  • If you are in isolation, have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 after a recent exposure but do not yet have your test results, or are absent due to other COVID-19 related situations, please contact your instructors and supervisors to make arrangements for your absence. Faculty and supervisors, please note as of Summer 2023 isolation related documentation has been updated and may differ from previous semesters.    
  • If you have a Primary Care Provider (PCP), that provider will have the primary role in advising you on your medical condition. Students, who have any medical concerns but do not have a PCP, can schedule an appointment at Student Health Services. 
  • Employees (faculty and staff) of the university who learn of a possible or positive COVID-19 test result for a student are not authorized to share the student’s health information. Please advise the student to report their positive test results via the self-report form 
  • If you are in isolation, have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 after a recent exposure but do not yet have your test results, or are absent due to other COVID-19 related situations, please contact your instructors and supervisors to make arrangements for your absence. Faculty and supervisors, please note as of Summer 2023 isolation related documentation has been updated and may differ from previous semesters.    
  • If you have a Primary Care Provider (PCP), that provider will have the primary role in advising you on your medical condition. Students, who have any medical concerns but do not have a PCP, can schedule an appointment at Student Health Services. 
  • Employees (faculty and staff) of the university who learn of a possible or positive COVID-19 test result for a student are not authorized to share the student’s health information. Please advise the student to report their positive test results via the self-report form

Note: If you are a Wexner Medical Center employee, please refer to information for employees who work in health care settings

What to do if you have been exposed to COVID-19 

  • Plan to test as soon as possible and again 5 days after your exposure. If you are feeling symptomatic, please plan to test immediately. 
  • Test even if you don’t develop symptoms. 
  • Begin masking as soon as you are made aware of your exposure. Continue wearing a well-fitted mask for 10 full days after your exposure.  
  • If you are feeling symptomatic and need to seek medical care, please contact your primary care provider (PCP) if you have one. That provider will have the primary role in advising you on your medical condition and testing resources.  Students who have  medical concerns but do not have a PCP, can schedule an appointment at Student Health Services.   

Frequently asked questions

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How do I report my positive test result?

Please report your result to Columbus Public Health COVID-19 Self-Report Survey

I live in on-campus housing and have tested positive for COVID 19. What should I do next?

Students should have a plan if they test positive or come into close contact with others who are sick during the school year. The university will not be able to provide isolation or quarantine housing for COVID19 during the 2023-24 academic year. In general, students who are not feeling well should: 

  1. Isolate yourself and limit non-essential contact with others. 
  2. Do not attend in person classes or activities
  3. Contact medical personnel if symptoms worsen or do not improve
     

I received a positive test result. What should I do now?

Plan to begin to implement your isolation plan immediately upon receiving your results and report your positive test. Guidance on next steps is listed on the Isolation and Exposures page.   

What are my responsibilities as a supervisor if an employee notifies me of possible or confirmed COVID-19 infection?

  • Instruct the employee not come to work or campus except to receive health care and to follow the steps outlined in the appropriate scenario described on the Isolation and Exposures page.
  • Ask the employee to submit their test results to the CICTT via the self-report form Columbus Public Health COVID-19 Self-Report Survey.
  • If possible, make arrangements for the employee to telework or for the employee’s duties to be covered as needed.
  • Ensure the employee is aware of their leave options and has submitted the appropriate leave request.
  • Do not notify other team members or others in your college or unit. Maintain the employee’s medical privacy. 
  • Communicate directly with the employee regarding their return-to-work dates.

What happens if I have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19?

People who have a significant COVID-19 exposure (within six feet for 15 minutes or more) should take the following actions regardless of their vaccination status: 

  • Begin wearing a well-fitted mask immediately and continue masking for 10 full days. 
  • Schedule a COVID-19 test immediately, and plan to test again after 5 days. 
  • If you are symptomatic, please plan to self-isolate while you wait for your test results. If your results are negative, you may exit your self-isolation, but continue masking. If your results are positive, follow the isolation instructions provided above. 
  • Roommates, members of the same household, and other people who were in close contact with a person while symptomatic, or up to two days before they got sick or tested positive, may need to follow guidance for those who have been exposed.

Please reference this website for the most up-to-date guidelines. The university’s COVID-19 Transition Task Force’s Safe Campus and Scientific Advisory Subgroup will continue monitoring changing conditions and consult with local and state health authorities. Recommendations and requirements will be refined as needed.