As of mid-March, COVID-19 has officially spread to Kelowna leading to a transition to online classes and temporary closure of many on-campus amenities. Amid these abrupt changes, UBC has warned students countless times to stay safe and take necessary precautions to avoid contracting this virus. However, little information has been released about what a student should do if they happen to fall ill.
Therefore, after extensive research, I have compiled some basic suggestions about the next steps students should consider if they believe they have COVID-19. Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional, so take the necessary precautions but do seek medical help if you deem it necessary.
Isolation is Key
The most important thing to do in this situation is to isolate yourself immediately and limit all direct contact with people. This is done to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to flatten the curve of infected people.
As students, this can be difficult as many of us live with roommates in smaller apartment buildings. In this case, it is better to isolate yourself to one room in the building and it is recommended that you have your own bathroom to limit the contact as much as possible.
Canada Public Health Services highly encourages individuals to isolate for 14 days after showing signs of symptoms. In addition, roommates and anyone else in contact with you are also recommended to stay in isolation.
Call a Healthcare Professional
After you isolate yourself, consider calling a healthcare professional or public health authority (811 in BC) if your symptoms are mild. Note that the keyword is call.
It is recommended not to go to a health professional in person for fear of spreading the virus when you go outside. A healthcare professional should be able to direct you in your next steps and provide further advice including whether you should go to the hospital.
However, if any treatment is required, UBCO’s Student Health Plan does not cover any preventative steps. Fortunately, UBCO states if you are a domestic student, most expenses should be covered by a provincial or other primary health-care plans. They have not yet elaborated on international or out-of-province students.
Continue to Practice Hand-Washing
Despite the fact that you have contracted COVID-19, it is still very important to continue to practice hand-washing and covering your mouth when you sneeze and cough. This is especially important if you live with other individuals or if you must go outside.
For more information on COVID-19, including a self-assessment tool and further resources, visit Canada Public Health Services.