What To Do If You Have Symptoms or Were Exposed to Someone With COVID-19

Note: This document was first posted July 1, 2020. It continues to be updated as new information or guidelines are available. Last updated January 10, 2023.

All university personnel and students must self-monitor daily.

If you are an MUSC Care Team Member, a student on clinical rotation or other learning experience in MUSC Health, or other essential personnel at MUSC Health, follow the guidelines for MUSC Health (login required).

All other university members (staff, students and faculty):

Symptoms but no known exposure:

  • The most common symptoms of Covid-19 are headache, cough, sinus congestion, body aches, sore throat, chills, and fever. Other symptoms may include runny nose, shortness of breath, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, or sudden loss of taste or smell.
  • If you experience any of these symptoms, you must quarantine and be tested for COVID-19.
  • This applies regardless of your vaccination status, booster status, or natural immunity status.

Exposed but no symptoms:

  • No quarantine required, but you must wear a mask around others at all times (off campus and on campus) for 10 days post-exposure.
  • You do not need to be tested for COVID-19, but you are eligible for testing if desired. DHEC guidance suggests testing of asymptomatic individuals should be done not before 5 days following the first date of exposure. A negative test does not mean new symptoms can be ignored. If your test is pending, you may continue to attend work/school, but you must wear a mask around others at all times for 10 days post-exposure.

Exposed and new symptoms develop:

  • Notify your supervisor (for students, notify your program director/faculty advisor). If you are home, stay home. If you are at work/school, leave immediately.
  • Find a testing location and schedule a test or use an at-home test. If you are tested at MUSC, identify yourself as a healthcare employee to receive your results most quickly.

If you test positive for COVID-19:

  • All individuals who test positive are required to self-report to allow for prompt contact tracing. Self-reporting not only stops the spread of COVID-19 but allows for us to share supportive services with you. Further, know that your privacy is important to us and we will only share what is minimally necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Self-report using the MUSC Contact Tracing Report form.
  • You must stay home and isolate for at least five full days, even if you are asymptomatic. Day 0 is the day you received a positive test result if you are asymptomatic. If you have symptoms, day 0 is your first day of symptoms. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed.

Using the counting approach above, you can end isolation after five full days, but only if you have been fever-free for 48 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and other symptoms have improved.

  • If your fever and/or significant symptoms persist past day 5, you may end isolation whenever you are fever-free and your symptoms are resolved for at least 48 hours.
  • In all cases above, you must continue to wear a mask at all times around others (off-campus and on-campus) for five additional days. To minimize the risk of infecting others who are at risk (e.g., older adults and individuals who are immunocompromised), avoid interacting with them until after at least 10 days.

If you test negative for COVID-19, you must satisfy both conditions below before returning to work/school:

  1. Resolution of fever for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medication AND
  2. Non-fever symptoms are minimal or improving.