Health

Health

This page contains important information on what to do if you have tested positive for COVID-19, what to do if you’ve come in contact with someone who has tested positive, and other important information regarding your health.

For general information about COVID-19, see Stanford Medicine’s COVID-19 Updates.

On this page

What to do if you’re feeling ill

Click on the grid for a downloadable PDF

For those who have trouble viewing the table above, the information is duplicated below as text.

What should I do if I am feeling ill?

If you are not feeling well, please contact your regular healthcare provider for guidance.  If your symptoms are escalating, including with progressive shortness of breath, do not wait for your regular doctor to get back to your email or phone call and seek emergent care if needed.

For more information about COVID, see Santa Clara County Public Health Department’s document.

If you are a student

If you are sick with mild symptoms: sore throat, headache, mild fatigue + aches, nausea/ diarrhea:

  • No formal notification needed for COVID.

If you are sick (have a fever 100 deg and worsening cough or shortness of breath or severe fatigue and muscle aches) or are awaiting test results (waiting for the results of a COVID test and currently self-isolating) or have tested COVID-positive:

If you are a postdoc

If you are sick with mild symptoms: sore throat, headache, mild fatigue + aches, nausea/ diarrhea:

  • No formal notification needed for COVID.

If you are sick (have a fever 100 deg and worsening cough or shortness of breath or severe fatigue and muscle aches) or are awaiting test results (waiting for the results of a COVID test and currently self-isolating) or have tested COVID-positive:

If you are a Stanford University employee (non-hospital based)

If you are sick (have a fever 100 deg and cough or shortness of breath) or are awaiting test results (waiting for the results of a COVID test and currently self-isolating) or have tested COVID-positive:

  • Contact your local HR representative and let them know if you had symptoms at work, and when they began.
  • Seek care with your regular doctor.

If you are a Stanford University clinician/staff working in Stanford Health Care

If you are sick (have a fever 100 deg and cough or shortness of breath) or are awaiting test results (waiting for the results of a COVID test and currently self-isolating) or have tested COVID-positive:

Where to get tested

Essential medical links

Click on the grid for a downloadable PDF

For those who have trouble viewing the table above, the information is duplicated below as text.

Guidance on working if you are sick or have been exposed to someone ill

Please review the following two matrices, the first based on symptoms and the second based on exposure to someone who is sick, for guidance on whether you can work.

Click on grid for a downloadable PDF

For those who have trouble viewing the table above, the information is duplicated below as text.

Can I work? (based on symptoms)

Can I work if I have moderate-severe symptoms?

If you have any of the following:

  • Fever (100 degrees)
  • OR persistent cough (dry or wet)
  • OR wheezing or trouble breathing 
  • OR moderate muscle aches OR physician diagnosis of likely COVID.

If you have tested positive: NO, you must remain self-isolated and be off work until you meet the conditions below:

  • No fever at least 7 days
  • AND respiratory symptoms have improved
  • AND at least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

If you have tested negative or have not been tested: NO, you must remain self-isolated and be off work until you meet the conditions below:

  • No fever at least 7 days
  • AND respiratory symptoms have improved
  • AND at least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

Can I work if I have mild symptoms?

If you have any of the following:

Sudden-onset change in smell or taste OR MORE than ONE of the following: 

  • Fever or chills, without fever
  • Sore throat
  • Mild cough
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Mild fatigue and muscle ache
  • Nausea or diarrhea

If you have tested positive: NO, you must remain self-isolated and be off work until you meet the conditions below:

  • No fever at least 7 days
  • AND respiratory symptoms have improved
  • AND at least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

If you have tested negative or have not been tested: NO, you must remain self-isolated until you meet the conditions below:

  • No fever at least 72 hrs
  • AND respiratory symptoms have improved
  • AND at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.

Can I work if I have minimal symptoms?

Those not meeting the descriptions of the sections above, or symptoms related to other known medical conditions.

If you have tested positive: NO, you must remain self-isolated and be off work until you meet the conditions below:

  • No fever at least 7 days
  • AND respiratory symptoms have improved
  • AND at least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

If you have tested negative or have not been tested: You may return after 72 hours of feeling better OR sooner if there is a KNOWN diagnosis that would explain those symptoms, such as allergies, with symptoms improved with allergy medication.

Can I work? (based on exposure)

Click on grid for a downloadable PDF

For those who have trouble viewing the table above, the information is duplicated below as text.

Can I work if I have had household contact with someone who has moderate-severe symptoms (described below) or tests positive?

(Household contact includes someone you live with including roommate, significant other, or intimate partner (includes kissing))

NO, you must remain self-isolated until you meet the conditions below:

  • At least 14 days have passed since your household contact’s symptoms have improved
  • OR your household contact tests negative and it has been 7 days since their fever resolved (or their negative test, if no fever ever present).

Can I work if I have had household contact with someone with milder symptoms (described below) who has not tested positive?

(Household contact includes someone you live with including roommate, significant other, or intimate partner (includes kissing))

NO, you must remain self-isolated until you meet the conditions below:

  • At least 7 days have passed since your household contact’s symptoms have improved
  • OR your household contact tests negative and it has been 7 days since their onset of symptoms.

Can I work if I have had high-risk close contact with someone who tests positive?

If you have had direct, frequent contact to an individual while not wearing appropriate protection, such as mask (within 6 feet for >15-30 minutes in a row within 24 hours of when they got sick)

Prolonged, face-to-face contact within 6 feet, for more than 15-30 minutes in a row, including the day before they got sick  (e.g. close friend, teammate)

Direct exposure to the individual’s secretions without appropriate PPE; sharing same drink

  • NO, you must remain self-isolated until 14 days after the last exposure.

Can I work if I have had low-risk contact with someone who tests positive?

Someone who does not meet the other categories

Includes: walked by or were around, but more than 6 feet away; in the same room with, but not within 6 feet for more than 15-30 minutes

  • Yes, you can work, as long as you do NOT have symptoms AND you were not a close contact (see row above).  
  • You should self-monitor your symptoms for 14 days, including twice-daily temperature checks.

Moderate-Severe Symptoms: ANY one of the following: Fever (~ 100) OR Persistent  cough (dry or wet) OR Wheezing or trouble breathing OR Moderate muscle aches OR Physician diagnosis of likely COVID.

Milder Symptoms:  Sudden-onset change in smell or taste OR MORE than ONE of the following: Feverish or chills, without fever OR Sore throat OR Mild cough OR Chest pain OR Headache OR Mild fatigue and muscle ache OR Nausea or diarrhea.

General health guidance

Testing information and COVID-related guidance are being updated frequently. Please review these resources below, which may be dependent on your health coverage.

If you have urgent and critical medical needs, including severe shortness of breath, please go to your nearest emergency department.

Stanford Emergency Department
Stanford Express Care COVID information on Drive-thru testing
Kaiser Permanente COVID webpage and e-visit 
Palo Alto Medical Foundation COVID site and advice
Santa Clara County Public Health Department

Please be aware that many locations are limiting testing to those with the most severe symptoms.  If needed, we encourage you to contact your primary doctor to discuss your case.

Work in hospital or clinic

If you are symptomatic, Stanford physicians, clinicians, medical students, and postdocs who work in patient care areas and perform clinical research in a medical setting may contact Stanford Hospital Occupational Health Services.

Individuals who meet the testing criteria (e.g. symptoms: fever, shortness of breath, progressive cough) will be scheduled for testing.

Stanford Hospital Occupational Health Services 650-723-5922.

Stanford’s drive-through testing locations are available to all insurances

Stanford Health Care has five locations (Palo Alto, Pleasanton, Los Gatos, Menlo Park, and Emeryville) that perform drive-through testing by appointment only.  Call 650-498-9000 to schedule a video consultation with a Stanford physician, who will evaluate each patient for testing.  The on-campus sites at Galvez lot and Hoover Pavilion also test pediatric patients. The Galvez site is currently open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days per week.

Individuals do NOT  need to be existing Stanford Health Care patients to receive the test. In order to be tested,  patients must register by creating an account https://stanfordhealthcare.org/for-patients-visitors/myhealth.html and selecting “No” when asked for an access code.  

If you are not a Stanford Health Care member, please contact your current provider first to inquire about COVID-19 testing.

General COVID questions

For health guidance, contact healthguidance@stanford.edu.

Guide to self-care: Coping with coronavirus

Stanford BeWell offers information on how to maintain good mental and emotional health during the coronavirus outbreak.

Personal care FAQ

How can I help prevent illness?

Prevention measures are similar to those utilized against the common cold and flu, which are currently circulating in high numbers in California.

Get a flu shot. We strongly recommend that everyone obtain seasonal flu vaccination. While it will not prevent COVID-19, influenza is currently in widespread circulation in California, and initial symptoms can be similar to novel coronavirus. Any illness right now can increase anxiety and concerns. Members of the Stanford community can contact the SU Occupational Health Center (Stanford employees) or go to Vaden Health Center (Stanford students) to get a flu shot.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Don’t share food and drinks.

Clean and disinfect shared surfaces and objects that are touched frequently (e.g. door knobs, desks, phones).

If you can, avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.

How effective are prevention measures against COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new disease so data is limited, but a 2017 CDC report about pandemic flu concluded that actions like the ones listed above dramatically slowed the spread of influenza in communities and reduced the peak number of cases and demands on hospitals during pandemics. The total number of overall cases and ill health effects related to the flu also dropped. (see figure below).

Image credit: CDC, US Department of Health and Human Services

Should I wear a mask?

Stanford concurs with CDC recommendations in not recommending the use of surgical masks by people who are well. Those who are ill should consult a healthcare provider about using a surgical mask to reduce the spread of their illness.

N95 respirator masks are recommended only for use by healthcare workers.  These masks are not needed outside of healthcare settings.

I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed, who can I talk to?

Stanford CAPS is dedicated to Stanford student emotional health and can be reached 24/7 at 723-3785. 

Faculty, staff, and postdocs can contact the HELP Center at 723-4577.

Santa Clara County maintains an anonymous crisis line that is available 24 hours, 7 days a week, at 1-800-704-0900 (Mental Health Services).  

SAMHSA’s Distress Helpline (related to any natural or human-caused disaster) is accessible 24/7 at 1-800-985-5990 or via text (send TALKWITHUS to 66746; Press 2 for Spanish).

The World Health Organization (WHO) has tips for helping children deal with stress and for dealing with your own stress during the COVID-19 outbreak.