As COVID-19 case numbers continue to smash records and WSU expands testing on-campus, the university is stressing the importance of the self-reporting form available on the WSU website and advising everyone to complete the form if necessary.

WSU has encouraged anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or has reason to believe they have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 to self-report through the form on the WSU coronavirus webpage.
WSU has encouraged anyone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or has reason to believe they have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 to self-report through the form on the WSU coronavirus webpage. Photo credit: Pixabay.com

Students, faculty and staff who are experiencing symptoms or have reason to believe they have been exposed are asked to fill out the self-reporting form online. Then, they can schedule a free test on-campus.

“Information shared in this form will be used to determine appropriate follow up for addressing the needs of our campus community,” the form states. “This will include initiation of contact tracing efforts, working in coordination with the local department of health.”

Those who may feel hesitant to self-report can take comfort in the fact that this medical information is subject to strict laws governing confidentiality.

Students, faculty and staff are asked to help protect the privacy of any people who may have the virus. In a situation where exposure may have occurred, those at risk should be notified and urged to be tested, without names mentioned.

After a report is received, a member of the contact tracing team will contact the individual who self-reported, normally within an hour, to ask questions related to their campus activity. A contact tracer then determines whether any close contacts from campus need to be notified.

Risk of contraction is defined as being within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes. Those who have been determined to not be at risk for contraction will not be contacted by contact tracers.

Apart from allowing for the engagement of contact tracing, the self-reporting system is one of the only ways that the university is able to measure the transmission of the virus on-campus and assess the level of risk.

The WSU website’s coronavirus page updates the university case count every Tuesday and Friday. In the Nov. 17 update, the last seven days had 49 new cases and the cumulative total since January sat at 308.

These numbers come from those who self-reported a positive COVID-19 test to WSU, after campus testing or elsewhere, after having been on one of the campuses in the 14 days prior to testing positive.

The system will help campus make critical decisions, such as whether an area may need to be sanitized, a class moved from in-person to virtual format or, in the worst case scenario, whether campus should be shut down to prevent future outbreaks.

In spite of the difficulties of the current situation, Wildcats are able to take steps to keep each other safe and avoid the worst of the pandemic — and the self-reporting system is one of the most urgent.

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