COVID-19 Testing and Quarantining Encouraged
(NOBLESVILLE, NOVEMBER 10, 2020)
In a couple weeks, thousands of college students will return to Hamilton County for the Thanksgiving holiday – and in some cases, for the rest of the semester. With them, comes a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure to their families.
“Now is the time to start talking to your college-age kids about the return home,” says Christian Walker, emergency preparedness coordinator for the Hamilton County Health Department. “They need to start getting tested for the virus and quarantining themselves to limit exposure. The last thing you want is your child coming home for the holidays and infecting the entire family.”
In many cases, colleges have become hot spots for the virus and studies suggest younger people are often asymptomatic, meaning they can unintentionally transmit the virus to others. Some colleges and universities, like Indiana University in Bloomington, are encouraging students who live on or near campus to get tested before they head home, but testing is not mandatory.
“It’s also important to remember that a single negative test is not enough to assure you’re not a carrier,” Walker warns. “The test is only a snapshot in time. The virus can take as long as 14 days to incubate, meaning you could test negative today and be positive in two weeks.”
For that reason, the Hamilton County Health Department also recommends college students quarantine at least two weeks prior to Thanksgiving – either at school or by leaving campus early to do so at home.