Health, Wellness, and Prevention

Updated 3/20/20: We ask any member of the St. Kate’s community who has been given a presumed diagnosis of COVID-19 by a health care provider OR tested positive for COVID-19 to fill out the COVID-19 Diagnosis Notification Form so that we are able to monitor how this is affecting our community. This information is confidential and goes to the Health and Wellness Clinic. 

  • A presumed diagnosis means that based on your symptoms, your healthcare provider tells you that it is very likely that you have COVID-19.  More people will be getting presumed diagnosis due to the lack of available testing.

COVID-19 Diagnosis Notification Form

 

MDH COVID-19 Hotlines

  • For questions about mitigation in an education setting:  651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • For questions about health or medical advice for an ill person:  651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Now that we have community spread in Minnesota and multiple states, social distancing (described here: Strategies to Slow the Spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota) is imperative.

Symptoms and Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

For information about handwashing, see CDC’s handwashing website.

Check with the CDC and MDH for descriptions of COVID-19 symptoms. According to CDC, patients with confirmed COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of  fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Some patients have had other symptoms including muscle aches, headache, sore throat, or diarrhea. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

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.

Monitor your symptoms closely. Take your temperature daily.

Stay home from school and work until at least 72 hours after your symptoms have passed.

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

As of March 20, MDH advises that if you have symptoms of a respiratory disease (these include fever, coughing, muscle aches, sore throat, and headache), you should stay home for at least seven (7) days, and/plus three (3) days with no fever and improvement of respiratory symptoms — whichever is longer. (Your fever should be gone for three (3) days without using fever-reducing medicine.)
 
Examples: 

  • If you have a fever and cough for 4 days, you need to stay home an additional 3 days after these symptoms are gone and with no fever, for a total of 7 days. 
  • If you have a fever and cough for 5 days, you need to stay home an additional 3 days after these symptoms are gone and with no fever, for a total of 8 days.

Please note, these guidelines are subject to change. Please continue to check the MDH website for the most current information.

As of March 25, Governor Walz has implemented a “Stay at Home” executive order: All persons currently living within the State of Minnesota are ordered to stay at home or in their place of residence, effective 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 27, and be in effect through Friday, April 10, at 5:00 p.m.

How does this change what we are already doing? Social distancing recommendations encouraged us to limit our close contact with others, and to groups of less than ten people. With this “stay at home” order, our medical director advised that best practice is to limit close contact to five (5) individuals for the duration of the order — not five individuals at a time, but the same five individuals total. 

The goal of social distancing is to slow the spread of the virus. We know that the key to effective social distancing is timing. The earlier it is employed, the more successful it will be. Social distancing helps keep the number of those infected at a level that the health care systems can manage. This results in health care services not being overwhelmed so they have the capacity to care for people, and thus  fewer deaths. When people limit their contact with each other, fewer people will be sick at once (and overall). Slowing the spread of the virus also increases time for health care providers to treat the flood of patients and for researchers to develop vaccines and antiviral therapies.

Testing and Exposure-Related Protocol

Testing ability for COVID-19 is currently limited in Minnesota due to a national shortage of testing supplies. As of March 20, tests being conducted through MDH are following these MDH guidelines: targeted populations, hospitalized patients, ill health care workers, and ill people living in congregate settings (i.e. nursing homes).  
 
Unless you meet the current guidelines for who to test, it is unlikely you will get tested at this time.  Many clinics have online screening tools to see if you meet guidelines for testing.

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If you are currently living outside of Minnesota, please check with your area healthcare provider. You can call the MDH with health questions at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The MDH will perform contact tracing (reach out) for people confirmed to have COVID-19. Contacts of known COVID-19 positive patients should quarantine for 14 days and should be monitored closely for symptoms. If contacts develop symptoms of any fevers, cough, or shortness of breath, they should alert MDH immediately and undergo testing.

Currently, the direction from MDH is that no action needs to be taken unless the person who is self-quarantining develops symptoms and is tested for COVID 19.

Unless you have had close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 at when they were symptomatic (fever, coughing, muscle aches, sore throat, and headache) MDH is not recommending that you stay home. MDH currently defines a close contact as someone with whom you were within six (6) feet for a prolonged period of time while the person was symptomatic.

The MDH will perform contact tracing (reach out) for people confirmed to have COVID-19. Contacts of known COVID-19 positive patients should quarantine for 14 days and should be monitored closely for symptoms. If contacts develop symptoms of any fevers, cough, or shortness of breath, they should alert MDH immediately and undergo testing.

Currently, the direction from MDH is that no action needs to be taken unless the person who is self-quarantining develops symptoms and is tested for COVID 19. 

If the testing comes back positive for COVID 19, MDH will perform contact tracing (reach out) to that persons contacts. Contacts of known COVID-19 positive patients should quarantine for 14 days and should be monitored closely for symptoms. If contacts develop symptoms of any fevers, cough, or shortness of breath, they should alert MDH immediately and undergo testing.

The St. Kate's Health and Wellness Clinic is in regular contact with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) regarding this outbreak. If a St. Kate’s community member receives a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19, and we need to take action, MDH will contact us with instructions on how to proceed. 

  • MDH will advise us on what the University's role is and next steps to take. Any action by the University will be initiated by the Incident Management Team, which will coordinate efforts with appropriate University offices.
  • As always, the individual who is diagnosed should follow the advice given to them by a healthcare provider, and/or consult the MDH hotline for guidance. 
  • If you have been told of a St. Kate’s community member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are concerned about possible exposure, please contact the MDH at 1-877-676-5414.

If you were exposed to a clinically diagnosed case  of COVID-19, it is important that you monitor your health closely for 14 days after that exposure. 

  • We are requesting that you stay at home for 14 days from the time of exposure.  
  • MDH currently defines exposure of concern as close contact or being within six (6) feet of the person for a prolonged period of time, while the person was symptomatic with cough, upper respiratory symptoms, or fever.
  • MDH will not be contacting people with a clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 (one that is not lab-confirmed).
  • If you were informed that you have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 and have additional questions, please call MDH at 1-877-676-5414 for further guidance.

If you or someone in your household is determined to be a close contact of a lab confirmed case of COVID-19, the MDH will contact you directly. You should stay home and self-quarantine for 14 days after exposure.

  • Faculty and staff should contact their direct supervisor or CHAD. 
  • Students should contact their faculty or clinical coordinator. 
  • In addition, we ask any member of the St. Kate’s community who has been given a presumed diagnosis of COVID-19 by a health care provider OR tested positive for COVID-19 to fill out this form so that we are able to monitor how this is affecting our community. This information is confidential and goes to the Health and Wellness Clinic. 
  • A presumed diagnosis means that based on your symptoms, your healthcare provider tells you that it is very likely that you have COVID-19.  More people will be getting presumed diagnosis due to the lack of available testing.

At this time, the MDH advises that if you have symptoms and can manage those symptoms at home, you do not need to seek health care or be tested for COVID-19. Just stay home while you are sick — see above answer to How long do I need to stay isolated if I am sick? If you have underlying medical conditions, let your health care provider know you are sick. They may have specific advice for you.

The CDC has advice for what you should do if you are sick and how to care for yourself at home.  Please refer to their recommendations. 

Should your symptoms worsen (description of when to seek care can be found on the CDC website), call ahead to your healthcare provider BEFORE going to the clinic. Only go to the emergency room if you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms.