No one will judge you for contracting COVID-19, but people will judge you for not warning them they may also be infected.
You could’ve gotten the virus from or spread it to those you’ve been in class with, including students, professors and guest speakers. When people don’t report that they’ve contracted COVID-19 and help with contact tracing, they increase the likelihood that campus will close again to deal with the inevitable outbreaks and put everyone’s health at risk.
We’ve heard faculty, staff, administration, students and other community members voicing or quietly whispering their concern about potentially contracting COVID-19 because they’re afraid that people won’t report their symptoms. We at the Dixie Sun News share that concern since there are members of our staff who are either high-risk or living with people who are high-risk, and we’ve seen firsthand the level of apathy people have about a pandemic that hasn’t yet affected them beyond mild inconvenience.
If you think campus life sucks with the limited activities and attendance we have now, imagine what a full semester or year of having the campus shut down would be like, even with the improvements made since the shutdown in March.
As it is, an outbreak among the football players caused the remainder of Homecoming Week, team practices and other activities to be canceled or postponed since the football team was an integral part of those events. DSUSA also chose to cancel CHAOS due to the rising number of cases in southern Utah.
Consider the ripple effect of lying or omitting the truth about your symptoms. Cancellation of campus activities aside, even if you were asymptomatic or had minimal symptoms, others might not be so lucky, especially those who are high-risk or living with people who are.
Imagine testing positive for chlamydia and not warning recent partners that they may have contracted it from you; sure, it’s an easily treatable infection that sometimes presents asymptomatically, but left untreated or repeatedly contracted, it can lead to blindness, infertility, ectopic pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory disease, among other lasting symptoms. Likewise, COVID-19 can be treated and sometimes feels like no more than a bad case of the flu, but left untreated, it can cause lasting organ damage and death.
Even if you notify people anonymously through the Booth Wellness Center or rely on your professors to notify your classmates that they may have been infected rather than drawing attention to yourself by openly stating it, you’d still be positively contributing to public health and safety.
We certainly hope you never have to experience the despair of listening to a family member cry over the phone because she’s gotten ready to leave her house every day, hoping to get the call telling her she’s tested negative, only to instead be told she’s tested positive again.
We also hope you never have to experience the anguish of losing someone who had to die alone in hospital isolation. Imagine knowing these things could have been prevented if they’d just been warned by the person who spread it to them.
If you test positive for COVID-19, fill out the self-reporting form from the Booth Wellness Center and assist them with contact tracing, or at least personally notify those you’ve most recently been in close contact with. Doing so prevents outbreaks and prevents the campus from having to shut down.
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