COVID-19 FAQs

Health Service

Updated 3/27/2020

What do we know about the COVID-19 (formerly known as 2019 Novel Coronavirus)?
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Learn more about COVID-19.
Are there any cases of COVID-19 at Gustavus?
No. There are no known cases of COVID-19 at Gustavus. Please visit the Minnesota Department of Health for information about cases in Minnesota. There are currently cases in Nicollet County, where Gustavus is located.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The main symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Some people may experience a runny nose or sore throat as well. Some people have very mild symptoms. In severe cases, pneumonia and other complications can develop, especially for persons who are higher risk because of age, weakened immune systems or underlying health conditions.
How is the virus transmitted?
The latest research has determined an average incubation period (time of infectivity to development of symptoms) of five (5) days, with a range of 2-14 days. Details about the virus transmission are still being researched and developed, but it appears to be in respiratory droplets. You are most likely to contract the virus if someone coughs or sneezes on you, or if you touch something that someone else who is infected has touched and then touch your face (specifically eyes, nose, or mouth). You can greatly decrease your risk of transmission by regularly washing your hands, cleaning surfaces that are touched regularly (cell phone, door handles, light switches, etc.), and avoiding touching your face. Learn what is known about the spread of COVID-19.
I’m sick. How do I know if it is COVID-19 or something else, like influenza?
COVID-19 symptoms and influenza symptoms can be similar. If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness such as influenza or COVID-19, please review the recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health about what do to if you feel sick. Local clinics and hospitals have asked that you CALL ahead before going to any medical facility. You can also go online to the COVID-19 Symptom Self-Checker from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Guidance and recommendations are changing regularly, so look at the online guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health or call their COVID-19 hotline at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903 from 7:00am - 7:00pm.

How can I protect myself from contracting COVID-19, influenza, or other respiratory illnesses?
The best way to prevent any infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Practice social distancing. Do your part to protect your community. See the MDH guidance on how to Slow the Spread.
What do I do if I am worried I may have contracted COVID-19?
Take steps to get professional medical advice and prevent the spread of any respiratory virus, including COVID-19 by doing the following:
  • Review current guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health or Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Stay home when you have a fever or cough. You must remain home for a minimum of 7 days from the onset of symptoms, and longer depending on how long symptoms last. Please review online guidance as recommended above.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?
Currently, there is no vaccine available for COVID-19. The CDC is closely monitoring the issue and will provide updates on their website.
I’m worried about someone who might be sick or might have been exposed to COVID-19. What should I do?
Encourage them to review current recommendations from Minnesota Department of Health or Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Where can I get more information?
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) Information website will have links and postings of campus communication. Gustavus recognizes this is a stressful situation for many members of our community. Please be sure you are taking care of yourself and others. 
Does Gustavus restrict travel to any areas or countries?
Gustavus has decided to suspend all College sponsored travel at this time. Guidance from Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the State Department, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is informing our travel policies. Anyone returning from a country with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice would be subject to 14 days of quarantine prior to returning to campus. There are countries in which Gustavus does not currently permit any college sponsored travel to occur, this list can be found on the Center for International and Cultural Education website. As of 3/19/2020 the State Department has issued a Level 4 travel advisory.
What is Gustavus doing to protect the campus community?
Gustavus is following CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on screening and response protocols along with other measures to protect the health and well-being of our campus community. The CDC guides national testing criteria, and we follow their evidence-based protocols in collaboration with the MDH when evaluating and supporting individuals. As the CDC and WHO issue new guidelines related to screening or testing, we will adjust our clinical protocols to rapidly identify, evaluate and support patients and the Gustavus community.
Gustavus has increased the frequency of routine environmental cleaning. Gustavus will be communicating with students, staff, and faculty about recommendations to stay home when they have a fever (100.4 F or greater), and to remain away from class, work, and other activities until they are fever-free without the use of fever reducing medications for at least 24 hours.
The College has an Infectious Disease Committee that is meeting daily, additionally we are providing email communications as new information arrives and posting a short, daily update online. The Gustavus Health Service is in regular communication with the MDH as new information about screening, transmission, and other factors becomes available.

If you have any additional questions, please call the Gustavus Health Service at 507-933-7630 during normal business hours or the Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903 from 7:00am - 7:00pm.