Coronavirus Information for the PLNU Community

Stay up to date with the latest developments >>

Staying Healthy

Common COVID-19 Questions

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing respiratory illness in people and others circulating among animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people. Previous coronavirus outbreaks have included severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes the risk to the American public of becoming infected with this novel coronavirus is currently low. Because this is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, the CDC will provide updated information as it becomes available, including any changes in the risk assessment.

How does it spread?

Although we have a lot to learn about this virus, it is currently believed that it spreads like other respiratory viruses — by people with the infection coughing and sneezing. These droplets are inhaled by other people or moved to the eyes, nose or mouth by contaminated hands.

What are symptoms of this infection?

Symptoms of COVID-19 may include the following:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

If you have returned in the past 14 days from travel to a country with a COVID-19 outbreak OR have been exposed to someone with confirmed COVID-19 AND are experiencing fever and respiratory symptoms (such as fever with coughing or difficulty breathing/shortness of breath), the CDC advises you to seek medical advice and call ahead to your health-care provider or nurse advice line.

Additionally, if you have NOT returned in the past 14 days from travel to a country with a COVID-19 outbreak OR have NOT been exposed to someone with confirmed COVID-19, but do have fever and respiratory symptoms seek medical advice and call ahead to your health-care provider or nurse advice line. Please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care, emergency room or other health facility without calling first. Your provider will need to take special measures to protect other people in the clinic. Telemedicine may also be available, enabling you to consult a provider from home.

Where can I get more information on COVID-19?

For current information about this evolving public health situation, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus page.

Other resources include:

What do I do if I feel sick?

If you are sick, stay home.

  • Practice good hygiene.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing, and immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean your hands by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.

Monitor your symptoms closely. Take your temperature daily.

Stay home from school and work until at least 72 hours after your fever ends, without the use of fever-reducing medications. If you must go out of the house or be around others, wear a mask and avoid close contact. Be especially careful around people who have compromised immune systems, underlying health conditions and/or are age 60 and older.

You should take steps you normally would when sick, including focusing on caring for your health, contacting your healthcare provider if you feel you need to, not attending class if contagious, and in the event you miss class due to illness, working with your instructor on any necessary arrangements for making up coursework.

Take care of yourself. Rest as much as possible. Drink lots of fluids.

What do I do if I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises you to:

  • Restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
  • Do not go to work, school or public areas.
  • Avoid using public transportation, taxis, or ride-share.
  • Monitor your symptoms and call before visiting your doctor. If you have an appointment, be sure you tell them you have or may have COVID-19.
  • If you have one, wear a facemask around other people, such as sharing a room or vehicle, or around pets and before entering a healthcare provider’s office.
  • If you can’t wear a mask because it’s hard for you to breathe while wearing one, then keep people who live with you out of your room, or have them wear a facemask if they come in your room.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw away in a lined trashcan. Wash hands thoroughly afterwards. Soap and water is best.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items like dishes and glasses, or bedding.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Rub hands together until dry.
  • Clean all “high touch” surfaces every day, such as counters, tables, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, phones, and keyboards.
  • Use a household cleaning product to clean, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1. Notify dispatch that you have or may have COVID-19
  • Remain in home isolation for 7 days OR until 72 hours after your fever has resolved (and symptoms get better) whichever is longer.

Any member of the PLNU community suspecting they have contracted influenza or coronavirus should stay home. Students should call the Wellness Center at (619) 849-2574 — or their primary medical provider — prior to arriving at the medical office. This will allow us to provide you with information on your illness and plan for your visit to the clinic, if needed. 

The Wellness Center​, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, has developed additional screening (by phone and at front desks) and has implemented additional protocols to help identify possible cases of coronavirus to provide optimal care for those with symptoms and to protect other patients and staff.

PLNU students should call the Wellness Center at (619) 849-2574 to speak with an advice nurse.

PLNU faculty and staff should call their health care provider immediately for care.

I have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, what should I do?

Close contact is defined as being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a person with confirmed COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time, or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on) without wearing personal protective equipment.

If you had close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19, but you do not have any symptoms (fever, coughing, shortness of breath):

  1. Stay at home for 14 days after your last contact with the ill person. Do not go to school or work. Avoid public places.
  2. During the 14 days, monitor your health for fever, cough and shortness of breath.
  3. Students should notify the PLNU Wellness Center at (619) 849-2574 by speaking with an advice nurse. PLNU faculty and staff should call their health care provider immediately for care.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 infection — such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath — within 14 days of your return from personal or official travel to a country with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice (due to the novel coronavirus) OR have been in close contact with someone who has confirmed COVID-19, please take the steps listed below.

First: Call your health provider in advance. Please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care or other health facility without calling first. Your provider will need to take special measures to protect other people in the clinic. Telemedicine may also be available, enabling you to consult a provider from home.

Second: Check in with the Wellness Center at (619) 849-2574 for symptom monitoring among PLNU community members.

More information about potential exposure to COVID-19 can be found on the San Diego County and on the California Department of Public Health website.

I have COVID-19 symptoms but have not been around anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. What should I do?

  • The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These can be symptoms of other respiratory illnesses as well as COVID-19.
  • If you are in a high-risk category, and have symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider for advice. If you are at risk for serious illness, your healthcare provider may arrange a test for COVID-19.
  • If you do not have a high risk condition and your symptoms are mild, you do not need to be tested for COVID-19. Do not go out when you are sick, practice excellent hygiene, and wear a facemask when you are around other people if you can.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Avoid sharing personal household items. Clean your hands often. Clean all “high-touch” surfaces like doorknobs often.
  • Monitor your symptoms and call your health care provider if symptoms worsen.
  • Stay home and avoid others for 72 hours after your fever goes down and symptoms get better.

I want to get tested for COVID-19. Where can I go?

Testing is typically conducted by taking a swab at a health care provider’s office. Call ahead before visiting your healthcare provider.

Healthcare providers may test any patient in whom they suspect COVID-19. While testing is becoming more available, there are limitations in health care providers’ capacity to obtain samples and process lab results rapidly.

While there are no restrictions on who can get tested, not everybody who feels ill needs to be tested, particularly if you have mild illness. If you are sick with fever, cough or shortness of breath and are in a high risk group, call your healthcare provider to discuss whether you should be tested for COVID-19.

People at high risk for complications from COVID-19 are:

  • People older than 60 years
  • People with chronic medical conditions
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Pregnant people

If you are experiencing respiratory symptoms, please do not go to a health care provider before calling first. Please follow the directions in the “What do I do if I feel sick?” question if you are ill.

How do I help prevent the spread of viruses, including coronavirus?

You can reduce the risk of spreading coronaviruses by taking the same steps as you would to prevent infection from the flu and the common cold:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for a least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer, with 60-95% alcohol if water is not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and immediately dispose of the used tissue.

Should I wear a mask?

Effective May 1 everyone must wear face coverings whenever they are in public and expect to come within 6 feet of a non-household member.  Face coverings provide a layer of protection that allows us to stay safe from the spread of COVID 19.

In some parts of the world, mask use is customary. People wear masks often for a variety of reasons, including to avoid pollen and air pollution, as a courtesy to others when they have the common cold, and for other cultural and even social reasons. Keep in mind that if we see our friends, neighbors or other community members wearing a mask we should not assume that they have been exposed to coronavirus or any other illness. Because mask use is customary in some cultures, it’s not appropriate to make assumptions about why someone is wearing a mask or to stigmatize or discriminate against people who choose to wear masks.

Are there steps individuals, families, and communities can take to help prepare if there is widespread transmission of COVID-19?

The CDC has a guide for individuals, families and communities on prevention and mitigation of the spread of viruses, including COVID-19. These steps include many of those listed above for personal health, as well as others relevant for broader community efforts.

I have family and friends in an area directly impacted by COVID-19. How can I manage my concern for them?

We recognize some members of our campus community are directly affected by the virus without themselves being sick. The news, and especially the uncertainty, can feel scary. Some also have concerns regarding family members and friends in other areas who are sick, or who are at increased risk.

If you feel distressed in any way, we want to help. Students can call Counseling Services at (619) 849-2574 to schedule an appointment with a counselor or to hear more about counseling resources on campus. Mental Health Crisis Consultation Services are available in the Wellness Center, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. PLNU employees can utilize the Employee Assistance Program. 

We should also come together as a campus to reject any and all xenophobia, bigotry, or racism brought about by the virus.

How should I clean and disinfect communal spaces?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door knobs, tables, computer keyboards, handrails, exercise rooms).

Departments should use a disinfectant on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus, an alcohol solution with at least 70% alcohol, or a 10% bleach/water solution to disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces. It is also recommended that all departments purchase single use disinfectant wipes for touch points within their work spaces.

Please avoid putting disinfectant gels or liquids on electronics and other equipment, including elevator buttons, unless they have been indicated as safe to use on those devices.

I feel anxious about coronavirus. What should I do?

We recognize some members of our campus community are directly affected by the virus without themselves being sick. The news, and especially the uncertainty, can feel scary. Some also have concerns regarding family members and friends in other areas who are sick, or who are at increased risk.

If you feel distressed in any way, we want to help. Students can call Counseling Services at (619) 849-2574 to schedule an appointment with a counselor or to hear more about counseling resources on campus. Mental Health Crisis Consultation Services are available in the Wellness Center, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. PLNU employees can utilize the Employee Assistance Program. 

We should also come together as a campus to reject any and all xenophobia, bigotry, or racism brought about by the virus.

You can help prevent the spread of colds and other viral ailments by doing the following:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.