What happens when I have a positive test?
If you are a student who tests positive for COVID-19, the Hope College Health Center and the Ottawa County Department of Public Health will be notified.
Upon notification, the college will begin working with you to take the necessary next steps. If you get a positive test result, you will:
- Receive support from Hope staff
- Trained advocates from Hope College will begin working with you right away to help you understand what to do, what to expect and what support is available. These advocates are prepared and committed to help you through the process.
- Move into isolation housing
- A trained advocate from Hope College will help you move into isolation housing. Isolation lasts at least 10 days, starting from when your symptoms first appeared and/or when your positive test was administered. While in isolation, you’ll need to stay in your housing, separate yourself from others, monitor your health, and follow directions from the Hope College Health Center, the state health department and the local health department. Visit our Moving into Isolation or Quarantine page for more information.
- Contact your professors and your work supervisor(s)
- Your Hope advocates will help facilitate communication with your faculty and supervisor(s) so they are aware that you will be absent from class for at least 10 days. You should email your professors and supervisor(s) to ask how you can engage with the class or job remotely. You do not need to disclose the reason for your absence, only the expected duration of time. If you have an off-campus job that requires documentation for absence, please work with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health.
- Participate in the contact tracing process
- A positive case prompts a contact-tracing investigation by the local health department. Contact tracing plays a very critical role in mitigating the spread of the virus. Hope advocates will help you begin the process of identifying close contacts so that you will be prepared to work with the health department. (“Close contacts” are individuals you’ve been within 6 feet of for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more.)
- Respond to communications from the local health department
- If the Ottawa County Department of Public Health calls or texts you, respond immediately. It is important to be honest and forthcoming with the information that the health department requests; your cooperation will help reduce spread of the virus on campus and will increase our chances of completing an in-person semester.
- Monitor your symptoms
Continue checking yourself everyday for COVID-19 symptoms, which include: fever or chills; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; muscle or body aches; headache; new loss of taste or smell; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting; and diarrhea. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, and may range from mild symptoms to severe illness.
- Complete the isolation period
Complete the isolation period when you get clearance. Return to your regular housing, classes and on-campus activities only when you meet the criteria for ending isolation. Visit our Returning to Campus After Isolation and Quarantine page for more information.
DO I HAVE TO ISOLATE, EVEN IF I DON’T HAVE SYMPTOMS?
Yes. Isolation is used to separate people who are infected with the virus from people who are not infected. Even if you are not experiencing symptoms, it is very important to remain in isolation housing until it’s safe to be around others.
SHOULD I TELL PEOPLE I HAD A POSITIVE TEST?
It is your prerogative to tell others about your positive test. While it is expected that you tell your professors and supervisors about your absence, you are not required to disclose the reasons for your absence. If you choose to tell people that you tested positive, they may begin to worry about their own health. You can help by reminding them to continue monitoring themselves for symptoms and practicing all safeguards. You can also let them know what “close contact” is (6 feet or less for a total of 15 minutes or more) and inform them that they will receive communication from the health department if they have been identified as a close contact.
For more information, please visit the CDC website.