COVID-19: Frequently Asked Health Questions

Last Updated: January 20, 2024

Updates:

Free COVID-19 Rapid Tests

Beginning September 25, every U.S. household can again place an order to receive four more free COVID-19 rapid tests delivered directly to their home. Before You Throw Out "Expired" Tests: Check FDA's website to see if your COVID-19 tests' expiration dates have been extended.

Places near UNH where you can purchase rapid COVID test:

Access to COVID-19 Vaccine

Please Note:  The federal government is no longer providing the COVID-19 vaccine.

Here are places the COVID-19 vaccine is available near UNH.

Everyone ages 5 years and older is recommended to receive 1 dose of updated (2023–­2024 Formula) mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

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

This list does not include all possible symptoms. Read more about COVID-19 Symptoms here.

What do I do if I think I have symptoms of COVID-19?

If you have symptoms (sore throat, cough, congestion, fever over 100.4F), go to Health & Wellness for evaluation. Additionally, wear a mask and please stay home from work or class if you’re feeling sick.

What do I do if I've been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19? Do I have to quarantine? 

If you have been exposed to COVID-19, the CDC no longer requires quarantine. However, you should:

  • Watch for symptoms. If you start experiencing them, wear a mask.
  • Get tested at least 5 full days after exposure. If you test negative, continue precautions for 10 days. If you test positive, isolate immediately.
  • It is recommended that you mask for 10 days, starting as soon as you find out you were exposed. 

What do I do if I test positive for COVID-19? Do I have to isolate?

If you test positive, you are still required to isolate.

  • Students are strongly encouraged to return home or leave campus for their isolation. If unable, students can isolate in place, leaving only for food and medical care, except in extreme circumstances, and wearing a well-fitted mask.
  • If you are a student who has the Dining Meal Plan and have someone who can get meals for you, please follow the Dining Sick Policy. If you do not have someone who can get meals for you, please call reception (Reception number at Philbrook 603-862-9331 and at HOCO 603-862-0715), in advance to request meal so Dining can get the meal ready.  You must go to the dining hall masked to pick up your "to go meal".  If they cannot call in advance, you should go directly to reception and request what you would like for your "to go meal".
  • You can end isolation after day five without testing out, as long as your symptoms are improving and your fever has subsided without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • Detailed information about how and when to isolate can be found here.

I've been exposed and/or have symptoms and took an at-home COVID-19 antigen test. It came back negative. What should I do next?

  • If you receive a negative result, the test did not detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus at the time of that test.
    • If you do not have COVID-19 symptoms and believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, test again 48 hours after the first negative test, then 48 hours after the second negative test, for a total of at least three tests.
      • If you get a negative result on the second test, test again 48 hours after the second test.
      • If you get a negative result on the third test and you are concerned that you could have COVID-19, you may choose to test again using an antigen test, consider getting a laboratory molecular-based test, or call your health care provider.
    • If you have COVID-19 symptoms, test again 48 hours after the first negative test, for a total of at least two tests.
      • If you get a negative result on the second test and you are concerned that you could have COVID-19, you may choose to test again 48 hours after the second test, consider getting a laboratory molecular-based test, or call your health care provider.

    If you have been vaccinated and/or received a booster, please let us know by uploading proof of your vaccination here

    Do you offer the vaccine/boosters at Health & Wellness?

    Please Note:  The federal government is no longer providing the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Health & Wellness does not provide the COVID-19 vaccine/boosters.

    Where else can I get my COVID-19 vaccine/booster?

    To search other locations, visit vaccines.gov

    Who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and/or booster?

    The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent is authorized for use as single booster dose in individuals 6 years of age and older. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent is authorized for use as a single booster dose in individuals 5 years of age and older. 

    You are eligible as long as it has been at least 2 months since your previous dose. 

    If I've gotten a booster, should I re-upload or update my vaccination information on MyHealth&Wellness?

    If it was obtained outside of Health & Wellness, then yes, you should update your vaccination record and upload your card in the MyHealth&Wellness portal. If it was obtained at Health & Wellness, we will update your records. 

    What if I lost my vaccination card?

    If you’ve lost your card or don’t have a copy and were vaccinated in NH, visit this website to find contact information for the state in which you received your vaccination.

    If you have previously submitted your vaccine card to Health & Wellness, you may contact us for assistance.

    You could also contact your state or local health department’s immunization information system (IIS) for assistance.

    If I'm fully vaccinated and have also had a COVID-19 breakthrough infection recently, can I still get a booster dose? 

    Yes, as long as you have completed your full isolation period, you are without fever, and your symptoms have improved.

    Can I get vaccinated if I’m currently sick with COVID-19?

    No. You should wait until you have fully recovered and are no longer in isolation. This also applies if you’ve already had your first dose of the vaccine.

    Can I safely get the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine at the same time?

    Yes. The COVID vaccine is authorized to be given at the same time (or in the same time frame) as the flu vaccine. 

    If I’ve already had COVID-19, won't I have natural immunity? Do I still need to get vaccinated and boosted?

    Yes, it is highly recommended. It is possible to get re-infected with COVID-19 after you’ve already had it.

    The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 infection or re-infection is to get vaccinated and boosted.

    Are there side effects I should worry about? Could the vaccine give me COVID?

    Vaccination will not give you COVID, since none of the vaccines carry live virus.

    You may experience some side effects. These are normal signs that your body is building protection. “The most common side effects are pain and swelling in the arm where you received the shot. In addition, you may have fever, chills, tiredness, and headache. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Learn more about what to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.” (CDC)

    It is important to know that it is possible to get COVID-19 soon after you’ve been vaccinated or boosted because it takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity. This means that it’s especially important to keep following public health guidelines while you are in between doses of the vaccine and after 2 weeks have passed since your second dose and booster dose.

    What does it mean to be fully vaccinated? What about "up-to-date"? 

    You are considered "up-to-date" if you have received the most recent booster dose recommended for you by CDC.

    Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I'm up-to-date with my COVID vaccine?

    Even if you are up-to-date on your vaccinations for COVID-19, take these steps to protect yourself and others (according to CDC):

    • It is always a good idea to avoid close contact when possible. 
    • If you are in an area with high numbers of COVID-19 cases outside UNH campus, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and when you are in close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
    • If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may not be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated. You should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.
    • If you are fully vaccinated, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
    • At UNH, you are not required to wear a mask indoors or outdoors, except in health care facilities (including Health & Wellness), as part of regular PPE in labs, and for individuals who were recently in isolation and need to mask for 10 days.

      Can people who are fully vaccinated still get and/or spread COVID-19?

      People who have been vaccinated are much less likely to get sick, though all vaccines carry the possibility of breakthrough cases (see definition in Glossary section below). The risk of severe illness and death decreases significantly with vaccination and boosters. 

      Learn more at "What You Should Know About the Possibility of COVID-19 Illness After Vaccination" from the CDC. 

      What do I need to know about variants? 

      For more information about variants, visit the CDC's Variants page.

      Are masks still effective? What kind should I wear?

      Correct and consistent mask use is a still critical step everyone can take to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19, especially if you are sick with COVID-19 or within 10 days of becoming symptomatic/testing positive. When choosing a mask, look at how well it fits, how well it filters the air, and how many layers it has.

      How does COVID-19 spread?

      “COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. These droplets and particles can be breathed in by other people or land on their eyes, noses, or mouth. In some circumstances, they may contaminate surfaces they touch. People who are closer than 6 feet from the infected person are most likely to get infected.” Asymptomatic people who are infected but do not show symptoms are able to spread the virus to others. (CDC)

      Can I get re-infected with COVID-19 if I’ve already had it?

      Yes, especially with the emergence of new variants of COVID-19. (CDC

      What are the most important steps I can take to prevent the spread of illness?

      Everyone can do their part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses.

      1. Get vaccinated. It is the best way to prevent serious illness to you personally, and helps to reduce transmission of COVID-19.
      2. Stay home when you experience symptoms (coughing, runny nose, sore throat, fever, etc.).
      3. Wash your hands! Scrub for 20 seconds. Regular soap and water are best, and hand sanitizer is a good alternative.
      4. Wear a mask:
        • If you are experiencing symptoms.
        • If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, it is recommended that you monitor for symptoms and wear a mask for 10 days.
        • If the sign at the door says "Mask Required." Follow the rules of the space you're entering.
        • If the indoor space is mask optional or outdoors, the CDC recommends wearing masks in public when other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
        • Even if outdoors or in a space where masks are optional, if you would like to wear a mask, please wear one.
      5. Spend time with others outside, rather than inside, whenever possible.

      Am I at greater risk of COVID-19 if I smoke or vape?

      Yes, being a current or former cigarette smoker increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (CDC).

      Health & Wellness is here to support anyone who is interested in reducing or quitting their use. Students may also schedule free telehealth appointments for Wellness Education/Counseling online and utilize our many virtual programs for additional support.

      Why might someone blame or avoid individuals and groups and create stigma because of COVID-19?

      “Stigma is associated with a lack of knowledge about how COVID-19 spreads, a need to blame someone, fears about disease and death, and gossip that spreads rumors and myths.” People who experience stigma may also face discrimination. For more information about stigma and how to reduce it in your community, visit the CDC website.

      If you have observed or experienced an incident of bias or hate, discrimination and/or harassment, please report the incident using the forms on this page or contact the Affirmative Action and Equity Office at affirmaction.equity@unh.edu or (603) 862-2930 Voice / (603) 862-1527 TTY / 7-1-1 Relay NH.

      The pandemic has caused an increase in feelings of worry, stress, sadness, etc. Is this normal? What can I do?

      Feeling anxious, stressed, scared, and/or worried are normal reactions to current events. . These emotions can help motivate us to be informed and take actions to protect ourselves and others:

      • Get adequate sleep, eat well, move your body, hydrate, do things that help to relax your body and mind—these actions strengthen our immune systems and our emotional well-being!
      • Know the facts about the virus and getting accurate information from reliable sources.
      • Take breaks from media, including social media.
      • Stay connected to family, friends, and other support systems.
      • Acknowledge your feelings instead of suppressing them. It can be helpful to write down your feelings and list what is making you feel this way. Acknowledging feelings also includes acknowledging how others feel. Telling yourself or others not to worry, be stressed, or panic only tends to make ourselves and others feel worse.
      • Be kind and compassionate with yourself and others.

      Additional Resources:

      • Living Well Services at Health & Wellness provides education, counseling, wellness coaching, support, and resources to maintain and improve emotional wellness. Make an appointment with a Living Well Educator/Counselor or Well-Being Coach.
      • WellTrack is a self-guided and interactive resource to support your mental health and well-being. It’s easy to use and free-of-charge to UNH students. Based on cognitive-behavioral approaches, the app can help you identify, understand and address Anxiety, Depression, Resiliency and Public Speaking. WellTrack can be used alone or in conjunction with psychotherapy.If you find the emotions you are experiencing are impacting your daily life and functioning, reach out for help: 
        • Students at UNH-Durham can contact Psychological and Counseling Services (PACS) 603-862-2090. 
        • Students at UNH-M can contact The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester (MHCGM) on campus (603) 641-4170 or directly (603) 668-4111.
        • Students at UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law can contact Riverbend Community Mental Health 603-228-1600 for an appointment or if crisis 1-844-743-5748.
        • Employees can contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) 1-800-424-1749.
        • The 988 Suicide & Crisis Prevention Lifeline is available for those in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
      • Coping With Stress (CDC)

      What are the travel guidelines (e.g., testing, mask-wearing, precautions) for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals?

      Refer to the CDC's Travel Guidelines for COVID-19 here

      Is there a requirement for quarantine if I travel outside NH?

      No.

      What are the current global travel advisories?

      For global travel advisories, refer to the U.S. Department of State website. Visit the CDC's after-travel guidelines for further guidance.

      What are the current local travel advisories?

      New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS) updates for travel requirements can be found here

      How many cases of COVID-19 are there in the United States?

      With the evolving nature of the virus in the United States, check here for updated information regarding the coronavirus in the U.S.

      How many cases of COVID-19 are there in New Hampshire?

      NH Division of Public Health Services provides the number of positive, possible, and fatal cases in NH here.

      Where can I get more information on the virus and what UNH is doing to protect the community?

      Refer to the UNH COVID-19 Updates and Resources page.

      The following is a list of terms used widely with regard to COVID-19.

      Breakthrough Infection

      A vaccine breakthrough infection is defined as the detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA or antigen in a respiratory specimen collected from a person ≥14 days after they have completed all recommended doses of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized COVID-19 vaccine. In other words, it is a COVID-19 infection in an individual who has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

      Household Close Contact

      Household Close Contact (HCC): any individual who lives and sleeps in the same indoor shared space as another person diagnosed with COVID-19 (either a temporary or permanent living arrangement), leading to close contact and potential repeated exposure to the person with COVID-19. This includes situations where there may be temporary but prolonged exposure such as occurs as sleep-over events, shared camp cabins, vacation rentals, etc.

      Non-Household Close Contact

      Non-Household Close Contact (NCC): any individual who was within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for a cumulative time of 15 minutes or more within a 24 hour period, but is not a household contact.

      Community Spread

      Community SpreadCommunity spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

      Flattening the Curve

      Flattening the curve (Harvard): refers to the epidemic curve, a statistical chart used to visualize the number of new cases over a given period of time during a disease outbreak. Flattening the curve is shorthand for implementing mitigation strategies to slow things down, so that fewer new cases develop over a longer period of time. This increases the chances that hospitals and other healthcare facilities will be equipped to handle any influx of patients.

      Isolation vs. Quarantine

      Isolation vs. quarantine: both help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.

      • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.
      • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.

      Social distancing vs. Physical distancing

      Social distancing vs. Physical distancing: The CDC defines social distancing as "remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance (> 6 feet) from others when possible." Examples include working from home, closing schools, canceling large gatherings.

      Health & Wellness has recently begun using the term “physical distancing” rather than social distancing to acknowledge that we need social connection (virtually and safely) even as we work to keep ourselves and others healthy through physical distance.

      Additional Resources