Cal Poly has reported 1,015 positive COVID-19 cases as of Monday, Jan. 11., and many students that live on campus have already experienced quarantine or isolation.
Business administration sophomore Ella Polly tested positive in mid-October for coronavirus.
Polly had gotten tested with her roommates because one of her roommates’ family was planning a visit to San Luis Obispo.
Neither Polly nor her roommates felt any symptoms early on nor had any known exposure.
Polly’s household began quarantining after two of them received a positive test. Originally, Polly was negative. Seven days later, Polly tested positive. Her isolation period was extended. In total, Polly quarantined for about 21 days.
In quarantine, Polly said she struggled with her mental health.
“I was feeling pretty low and was counting down the seconds until I could get out and at least be in fresh air,” Polly said.
Even though school was all Polly had to take her mind off of quarantine, she felt a lack of motivation.
“I wasn’t feeling very motivated, and I didn’t have the energy to really do anything,” Polly said.
Polly eventually developed fatigue as a symptom of the virus.
In addition to the mental stresses of isolation, Polly said that she had to deal with other anxieties. She had to tell a few friends that she and her roommates possibly exposed them to the virus.
“It’s just the last thing you would ever want to tell somebody especially during this time,” Polly said. “But it was also good because it’s not like we’ve seen many people.”
Polly said that she was worried about the unknown long-term effects of coronavirus and said she realized the importance of regular testing after her experience.
Journalism freshman Jordan Triebel tested positive before Thanksgiving break.
She got tested to ensure that she did not bring COVID-19 home to her immunocompromised sister. At the time, she did not know she was exposed.
Triebel was assigned to someone to manage her positive case while on campus. Ultimately she and her case manager decided that Triebel would quarantine in her residence hall in North Mountain.
Triebel said she thought one of the responsibilities of her case manager was to arrange food for the week. However, she struggled to get food delivered.
“I got a call at 9:30 [a.m.] in the morning the next day and it’s this lady aggressively yelling at me saying, ‘I can’t deliver to your dorm,’” Triebel said.
Triebel said that she started to feel uncomfortable in her dorm once most students left campus.
“I started just not feeling safe… it was extremely eerie,” Triebel said.
She and her parents decided it would be best if she returned home to finish her quarantine. This meant her immunocompromised sister would not be able to return for the holiday.
She alerted her case manager that she might be returning home, but Triebel said she never heard back from her case manager despite still being positive.
“No one at Cal Poly contacted me back… they just kind of dropped my case,” Triebel said.
Triebel returned home where she tested negative for COVID-19 twice after her 10-day quarantine. A few days later, she was diagnosed with mononucleosis.
“I ended up being sick for like seven weeks. I tested positive back in November and I’m just now feeling better,” Triebel said.
After seven weeks, Triebel said she still does not fully have her sense of smell back.
She compared her mental health during isolation to when her house came 600 feet from burning down during one of California’s wildfires.
“COVID[-19] was worse,” Triebel said. “I was isolated for so long. I was just sitting in my room with my thoughts.”
Triebel said she felt as though no one at Cal Poly cared about her or wanted to help her. She said that people assume college students only get the virus from being irresponsible or going to big parties, which was not the case for Jordan.
“The sad reality is if you get COVID[-19], especially if you’re a college student, no one is going to really want to help you,” Triebel said.
Triebel said she would want Cal Poly students that have not had coronavirus or been exposed to it to understand what it is like to contract it while living on-campus.
“If you get COVID[-19] and you live on campus you have to be more proactive for yourself. Don’t really rely on the COVID[-19]team for help… at the end of the day you’re just a statistic to them,” she said.
Journalism freshman Natalie Levesque found out she was exposed to COVID-19 after Halloween. She got tested and received a negative result. She became symptomatic and got tested again. The second test was positive.
She quarantined in her dorm in yakʔitʸutʸu after being exposed and once she tested positive she moved to the Cerro Vista to isolate.
“My entire building was on quarantine anyways for a good like four weeks because it just kept spreading around my building,” Levesque said.
Levesque’s main concern was spreading it to other people, especially after she developed symptoms.
“I was scared that I was going to expose the other people on my floor. I knew I had it, but I had to wait for that positive test which I feel like is very inefficient,” Levesque said.
She felt a sense of relief when she was moved into the isolation dorms with three other COVID-19 positive students — two of which she was previously friends with.
Levesque said that she has seen students not taking quarantine seriously even if they have been exposed or have symptoms.
“Be careful…If you know you were exposed and you might have it please get tested and isolate yourself,” Levesque said.