Carolyne Sysmans | Mustang News

Update March 12:

No San Luis Obispo County residents are in official quarantine as of March 12, according to SLO County Health Care Access Division Manager Michelle Shoresman. 

However, some residents have been placed on a “self-observation status,” meaning they can leave their homes, but must report to the County if they experience any COVID-19 symptoms, according to Shoresman.

In addition, the journalism senior and Mustang News staff member referenced in the original story is no longer matching the symptoms of COVID-19. Her fever broke this morning and has a runny nose.

The journalism senior is choosing to continue to self-quarantine for the time being out of an “abundance of caution.”

Original Story:

San Luis Obispo County Public Health asked at least three students to self-quarantine as of March 11 out of concern over potential COVID-19 exposure. 

There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in San Luis Obispo County as of March 11. However, two of the students recently visited areas of the country with a higher number of known confirmed cases, according to University Spokesperson Matt Lazier.

These students do not have any symptoms of COVID-19, but were asked to self-quarantine for 14 days “out of an abundance of caution,” Lazier wrote in an email. 

An email sent to employees at the Cal Poly Package Center by the Mail Services Department informed the center that two Cal Poly students are in quarantine. The email instructed employees not to send out packages brought to the center by the students in quarantine. 

In addition, a Mustang News employee recently displayed symptoms of coronavirus — including a 102 degree fever and cough. She returned from the San Francisco Bay Area 11 days ago, a city with 89 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  

The journalism senior went to the Health Center on Wednesday, March 11 and was seen by a physician because of her symptoms.  

According to the journalism senior, Campus Health contacted the San Luis Obispo County Health Department and informed them of the situation. After a test for influenza returned negative, the journalism senior was told to self-quarantine in her off-campus house for three days. 

In addition, she was asked to pay $250 out-of-pocket for a respiratory test to rule out other conditions that may be causing her symptoms. The journalism senior declined the test. 

“When I heard about the $250 test, I thought it was completely ridiculous that they are having a college student pay out of pocket for this,” the journalism senior said. “I want to be able to find out if I have coronavirus. But if I can’t afford to pay for this test, I am just sitting here wondering if I have coronavirus or not.”

The Journalism Department has not received notification of this potential case to take sanitation measures. It is unclear if the student will receive a coronavirus test.

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a pandemic March 11, according to the CDC

Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered that fees for COVID-19 testing be waived, according to a news release. However, testing kits are limited. 

Currently, only those who have COVID-19 symptoms and have been in contact with an area that has been affected by coronavirus are being tested, according to the CDC. Coronavirus symptoms include cough, fever and shortness of breath, according to the CDC

Cal Poly will have their own testing kits soon, but they do not know when.

Students and faculty with cough, cold or flu symptoms should call the Campus Health and Wellbeing Center before going in to avoid infecting others, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Health and Wellbeing Tina Hadaway-Mellis said at the March 10 Academic Senate meeting. 

Those with a fever of 100.4 degrees should stay home from school and work, Hadaway-Mellis said. 

As of March 10, Cal Poly will continue classes and in-person finals. Many other universities have moved to online courses

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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