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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

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In alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Nodaway County Health Department and other public health agencies, this webpage provides the Northwest community with broad information and answers to frequently asked questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For other information specifically related to COVID-19 and its impacts on your health, visit the CDC's FAQ page.

What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is the process of identifying all close contacts of a COVID-19 patient and placing close contacts into quarantine. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or who are identified as a close contact will receive instructions from a health care official about the steps they need to take to prevent further spread of the virus.

In alignment with current CDC and State recommendations, Northwest is not currently conducting case investigation or contact tracing for known positive cases. However, students at Northwest who test positive may still receive a call from the Nodaway County Health Department. The Nodaway County Health Department begins their case investigation upon learning an individual has tested positive for COVID-19. It is the process of interviewing the patient to determine their symptoms and symptom onset, possible locations where exposure occurred and their close contacts.

A close contact is considered to be any individual who had a prolonged (at least 15 minutes) close contact (within 6 feet), or had physical contact (of any duration) with an individual who tested positive; a person may be considered a close contact regardless of whether either individual was wearing face coverings. A common misconception is that you should quarantine if you have been exposed to someone who is a close contact; that is not accurate. If you live with someone who is a contact, but they do not have a positive test or symptoms, you do not need to quarantine.

Do college students qualify for free at home COVID-19 testing kits?

Yes. The federal government is providing four free COVID-19 testing kits to every U.S. residential address that requests them at www.covidtests.gov and at 800.232.0233 for people without internet access. 

College students residing on- or off-campus may request free testing kits. Students with shared housing addresses -- such as residence halls, apartment buildings or other group housing -- should each enter their unique room or apartment number, and/or letter with their street address on the ordering form or via phone.

Any student whose request is rejected should call USPS Customer Service at 800.275.8777 to resolve issues with shared housing addresses.

How can I test for COVID-19?

Northwest students and employees have a variety of options available to them for COVID-19 testing:

  • Students may call Wellness Services at 660.562.1348 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to request a test.
  • Employees and students may call Mosaic Medical Center-Maryville’s COVID-19 nurse call line between 7 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or between 8 a.m. and noon Saturday to request a test. 
  • Free COVID-19 at-home tests are available and allow individuals to test themselves independently. At-home tests are available to order at covidtests.gov.
  • The following links provide information about testing sites in the four-state region. If you reside outside the four-state region, check with your local or state health departments for testing information.

Are KN95 masks available on campus?

KN95 masks are available to students and employees upon request by contacting acullin@nwmissouri.edu.

What is the difference between "isolation" and "quarantine"?

Isolation is the term used for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and who must stay home and avoid seeing any other people. Individuals who test positive are to isolate for a five day period that begins the day after symptom onset or the date of the positive test result. They are not to leave their home or return to campus until after the five-day period has passed and they are fever free and other symptoms are improving.

Quarantine is the term used for individuals who are identified as a close contact to a positive case. The CDC has created a two-tier grouping for close contacts:

  • Individuals who have recently completed the primary series of an approved vaccine (within the past six months for Pfizer or Moderna, or within the past two months for Johnson & Johnson), as well as individuals who have received a booster dose of vaccine, are not required to quarantine if they remain asymptomatic. CDC recommends that these individuals should wear a mask around others for 10 days and test on the fifth day after their exposure, if possible. If an individual in this tier develops symptoms, they should be tested and stay at home while awaiting results.
  • Anyone who is unvaccinated, partially vaccinated (only completed one dose of a two-dose series), or who has completed their series (at least five months prior for Pfizer and Moderna, or two months prior for Johnson & Johnson) and who hasn't yet received a booster dose, should quarantine for five days, followed by mask usage around other individuals for an additional five days. The CDC recommends individuals in this group test on the fifth day after exposure and stay at home if symptoms develop at any point.

For additional CDC quarantine and isolation guidance, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html

What if I have symptoms of COVID-19?

Individuals who develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, should immediately isolate from others. To learn about COVID-19 symptoms, read Symptoms of Coronavirus.

  • Students can contact Wellness Services to be tested. Call 660.562.1348 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Students and employees can contact Mosaic Medical Center-Maryville’s COVID-19 nurse call line at 660.562.5357 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday or between 8 a.m. and noon Saturday. 
  • Do not go to a health care facility unless you are instructed to do so. Mosaic Medical Center recommends going to the emergency room only if you are experiencing labored breathing, confusion, seizures, persistent chest pain or pressure, an inability to talk or be roused, or high fevers not relieved by over-the-counter medications. If any of these happen, promptly call 911, alert them to your symptoms and that you suspect you have COVID-19. If you decide to go to the emergency room on your own, call ahead and notify them that you think you have COVID-19.

For additional CDC quarantine and isolation guidance, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html

Who is a close contact?

Close contact is considered to be an individual who had a prolonged (at least 15 minutes) close contact (within 6 feet) or had physical contact (of any duration) during the infectious period of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 (the infectious period begins two days before the onset of symptoms and runs throughout that person's isolation period). A person may be considered a close contact regardless of whether either individual was wearing face coverings.

A common misconception is that you should quarantine if you have been exposed to someone who is a close contact; that is not accurate. If you live with someone who is a contact, but they do not have a positive test or symptoms, you do not need to quarantine.

For additional CDC quarantine and isolation guidance, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html

Does a student who tested positive for COVID-19 have to test negative before returning to a classroom?

No, a student does not have to test negative before returning to the classroom. A student’s ability to return to a classroom will be guided by the Nodaway County Health Department, or another health agency, in alignment with CDC guidelines.

In general, an individual may return to the classroom if they have completed their isolation period, they are fever-free and their other symptoms are improving. Individuals who tested positive should continue to wear a mask around others for an additional five days after returning to normal activities.

For additional CDC quarantine and isolation guidance, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html

What if my roommate tests positive for COVID-19?

If you become aware your roommate was tested for COVID-19, one of you will need to move out of the living space until the test results return. If one of you cannot move out, avoid sharing a bedroom and bathroom. 

If the test results return positive for your roommate, it is possible you are considered a close contact and may be contacted by Nodaway County Public Health or other health agency. If you are determined to be a contact, you will be given guidance from this agency on what to do next.

If you are not contacted, additional precautions are not necessary.

For additional CDC quarantine and isolation guidance, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html

Do I need to quarantine if my roommate was exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19?

Unless you have been identified as a direct close contact yourself, you do not need to quarantine. However, the roommate needs to quarantine, and that means they should not have contact with anyone, including all roommates.  

If your roommate tests positive themselves and you are deemed a close contact, you should quarantine. A public health official may contact you to provide guidance. If you are not contacted, there is no need to take additional precautions.

For additional CDC quarantine and isolation guidance, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html

If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. Studies have shown the vaccine and its boosters are effective in reducing the risk of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.

For answers to other frequently asked questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html.

How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?

FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines help protect against variants while reducing the risk of COVID-19 and its potentially severe complications, including death.

All COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States have proven effective in clinical trials in helping protect people against COVID-19, including severe illness. Studies have shown how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions.

For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/effectiveness/work.html.

For answers to other frequently asked questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html.

Where can I learn more about COVID-19 and recommendations for prevention?

The links below are affiliated with state and federal health agencies and provide real-time updates, guidelines and other resources related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Where can I receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Students and employees may call Wellness Services at 660.562.1348 to schedule an appointment for a vaccine.

Individuals also may call the Nodaway County Health Department at 660.562.2755 or Mosaic Medical Center-Maryville at 660.562.2525 to schedule an appointment.

Local pharmacies have the vaccine available and recommend calling to schedule an appointment.

To find a COVID-19 vaccine near you, visit https://www.vaccines.gov/

For additional information about the vaccine and answers to frequently asked questions provided by Mosaic Life Care, visit https://www.mymlc.com/General/coronavirus-covid-19.