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(Last updated June 10, 2020)

Throughout this website, we use the following terms related to COVID-19 testing and containment. Here are definitions, according to public health experts:

  • PCR test: Polymerase Chain Reaction test for the active presence of the COVID-19 virus. The PCR test is a “point in time” test for the presence of the virus. This is the test the University will use unless specified otherwise.
  • Isolation: a protocol used when a person has been confirmed to have the COVID-19 virus. People who are COVID-19 positive can reside with others who are also COVID-19 positive, but should be isolated from those who do not have the virus.
  • Quarantine: a protocol used for someone who is determined to have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case. Quarantine lasts for the estimated incubation period for COVID-19 (14 days) and involves separating the person as much as possible from all other contacts.
  • Close contact: criteria for determining whether the contact with an infected individual warrants quarantine, based on proximity, length of time in contact, environment context (e.g., large room, outside), active symptoms of the infected person with whom contact is made.
  • COVID-19 symptoms: The symptoms of potential COVID-19 infections identified by the Centers for Disease Control include the following:
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Sore throat
    • New loss of taste or smell