Coronavirus text overlaid on a patterned background

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person.

The most up-to-date information and advice can be found here from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

CU Boulder Services

Medical Services is now screening all people visiting Wardenburg Health Center for respiratory infections and possible COVID-19 exposure. This means that all visitors who enter the building will check in with a Medical Services staff member who will assess healthcare needs, respiratory symptoms and travel-related information.  Medical Services continues to evaluate students at risk for COVID-19 infection in accordance with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recommendations.

As a part of the CU Boulder community, we have a commitment to look out for one another. Take precautions to stay and keep others healthy during this time of year. It is also important that we recognize that not any one racial or ethnic population is susceptible to illness or is prone to spreading illness. This is a global issue, not a regional one.

COVID-19 Campus Information

Symptoms of COVID-19

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Currently, the CDC lists the following signs and symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fever or chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Diarrhea

The incubation period (the time between being exposed and developing symptoms) is 2 to 14 days, with about 50% of people showing symptoms around day 5.

The CDC has created a Coronavirus Self-Checker, a guide to help you make decisions and see appropriate medical care.

CDC Coronavirus Self Checker

Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Risk factors for severe illness are not yet clear, although older adults and those with chronic medical conditions may be at higher risk.

Protect yourself and our community:

There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The most effective ways to protect yourself and others, include:

Help protect yourself and others:

  • Frequently washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoiding touching common surfaces as much as possible.
  • Wearing a face covering over your nose and mouth when in public to contain your respiratory secretions (droplets from coughs and sneezes).
  • Avoiding touching your face or eyes with unwashed hands.
  • Maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance from others and limiting your exposure to other people.
  • Stay home and isolate yourself from others if you may have been exposed to the virus.

What to do if you feel sick:
If you're not feeling well, stay home and contact your health care provider or the Medical Services nurse line at 303-492-5101 for guidance.

  • When to get tested. In general, you do not need a COVID-19 test if you do not have symptoms. The CDC recommends testing for anyone in close contact with someone who is infected. Students with CU Gold Student Health Insurance can get tested with no out-of-pocket costs. Students with other forms of insurance will need to check with their provider.
  • Recover at home away from others. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
  • Take care of yourself. Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call ahead before you get medical care. Be sure to get care right away if you have trouble breathing, have any other emergency warning signs or if you think it is an emergency.
  • Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
  • As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a cloth face covering. Wash your hands before and after contact with your pets.
  • Additional guidance about Living in Shared Housing with COVID is available from the CDC.

When to seek emergency medical attention:

If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.


Self-Quarantine and Self-Isolation

Self-quarantine separates people and restricts their movement if they were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. Self-isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.

Quarantine if exposed

For people who are not sick, but may have been exposed (in close contact with someone who is sick). You must stay away from others for 14 days to see if you get sick.

  • Usually for the incubation period of the disease.
  • Means you should stay at home or stay put in the same location for 14 days so you don’t spread the disease to healthy people. If you get sick, begin following the isolation directions.
  • If you have a medical appointment, call ahead and let them know you are under quarantine (either by order or self-imposed) for COVID-19, so the office can take steps to protect other people.

Isolation if you are sick

You must stay away from others for at least 10 days after your symptoms started and until all your symptoms have gone away.

  • Have a positive COVID-19 test.
  • Have symptoms of COVID-19 (coughing, shortness of breath and/or fever).
  • Are getting ill and think they might have COVID-19. Symptoms, especially early on, may be mild and feel like a common cold. Early symptoms could include a combination of cough, body aches, fatigue, and chest tightness. Some people may not develop fever or fever may not appear until several days into the illness.

Both isolation and quarantine can be voluntary. Colorado has the legal authority to issue quarantine orders to people who were exposed to a contagious disease. Local public health agencies have the authority to issue isolation orders for someone who is sick.

The period of quarantine is 14 days from the last date of exposure because the incubation period for this virus is 2 to 14 days.

The period of isolation or self-isolation lasts until:

  • You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without using medicine that reduces fevers) AND
  • Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved) AND
  • At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared

If you are asked to relocate, be prepared with a "COVID-ready" isolation bag. Suggested items include:

  • Chargers for your phone and other electronics
  • Phone, laptop or tablet
  • Personal items (toothpaste, toothbrush, lip balm, etc.)
  • Extra clothes (pajamas, socks, shirts, etc.)
  • Items for class (books, notebooks, study materials)