Health Center: COVID-19 Updated Protocol

To: Students, Faculty, and Staff
Posted: March 16, 2020 at 8:24 p.m.

Starting March 16, the health center will be seeing patients by appointment only, no walk-in appointments will be accepted. This change is necessary for the safety of our patients and staff. 

Currently, in our local area, COVID-19 testing is only performed in the emergency departments, for patients that meet strict criteria, under the direction of the Porter County Health Department and the Indiana State Board of Health. Testing is not available in the health center or in primary care offices. Avoid going to the emergency department unless you need emergency care. 

Valpo continues to monitor this situation and provide updates as they become available through the local and state health departments and the CDC.

Practice social distancing and stay away from anyone who is sick

Avoid close contact with one another (within about 6 feet)

Prevent illness:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces such as computers, cell phones, OneCard, and keys.
  • Practice social distancing, at least six feet, when you are out.
  • Anyone with symptoms of acute respiratory illness should stay home and not go to community spaces until they are free of fever (100.4° F or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medication (acetaminophen-Tylenol or ibuprofen-Motrin).

Illustration: woman sneezing on man

What To Do if You Are Sick?

Call your health center:  If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call before coming directly into the health center so we can triage your symptoms over the phone and not put any staff or other patients at unnecessary risk. At this time, the health center is not testing for the COVID-19 virus. Call your Health center at 219.464.5060 (8am-5pm) or 219.464.5352 (after 5pm) or your primary healthcare provider for medical advice.

Steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick

Follow the steps below:  If you are sick or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your community.

man in bed
  • Stay home: Isolate at home during your illness before your health center appointment. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
  • Avoid public areas: Do not go to public areas.
  • Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, V-line, ride-sharing, or taxis.
on the phone with doctor
Call ahead before visiting your doctor
  • Call ahead: If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
man wearing a mask
Wear a facemask if you are sick
  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people and when you enter the health center or primary care provider’s office.
woman covering their mouth when coughing
Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Cover: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Dispose: Throw used tissues in a lined trash can.
  • Wash hands: Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, if soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
washing hands
Clean your hands often
  • Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Soap and water: Soap and water are the best option if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
don't share
Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Do not share: You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home.
  • Wash thoroughly after use: After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
cleaning a counter
Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday
  • Clean and disinfect: Practice routine cleaning of high touch surfaces.

High touch surfaces include tablets, computers, cell phones, OneCard, keys, and bedside tables.

taking temperature
Monitor your symptoms
  • Seek medical attention: Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing).
  • Call your doctor: Before seeking care, call your health center or primary healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19.
  • Wear a facemask when sick: Put on a facemask before you enter the facility. These steps will help the health center or primary healthcare provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed.
  • Alert health department: Ask your health center or primary healthcare provider to call the local or state health department. Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department, as appropriate.

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.

Stay Healthy, 

Kelley Eshenaur FNP-C
Family Nurse Practitioner/Student Health Center Director
Valparaiso University Health Center