November 4, 2020

“Just follow the rules”: U of L student describes COVID-19 experience

By Tate Luckey — 

As of Nov. 2, the University of Louisville has conducted more than 44,000 tests for COVID-19 and of those, 878 have come back positive. That puts our positivity rate at just under 2%. For students that do test positive, the university gives them the option to return home or go into university provided isolation space at a nearby hotel.

Sophomore Claire Harmon is one of the hundreds of positive cases at U of L and who chose to be placed in the university’s isolation space. Harmon, who has an individualized major in Library Science and Art History, was living at University Pointe when she got the call that she had contracted the coronavirus.

This was her seventh test and she didn’t have any symptoms. When she first came to school this semester, she was confident she could avoid it. “Several people I knew got it at different times throughout the semester, though,” she said.

“I got the text message the evening after my test with my positive result,” Harmon said. She then received a phone call from the university the next day and self-isolated the rest of the afternoon.

“They said I could either go home or go to a hotel, but I had to be ready to go by the time he called back,” she said. “I knew I couldn’t go home because I didn’t want to infect my parents, so I chose the hotel.”

20 minutes later she packed as much as she could for the next 2 weeks and drove herself to the Marriott Residence Inn near the airport.

She was delivered a bag of food later that evening, which included primarily frozen dinners, plastic utensils, 2 pints of milk and a few bottles of orange juice.

“The drinks were my only complaint because I wasn’t given any water. I believe I received another delivery of basically the same stuff on my eighth day.”

Despite testing positive and being in isolation, for Harmon, going to classes was no issue. She continued to work as a normal student would despite the change of scenery.

“I went into isolation right after Fall Break, so I still had a couple of midterms to complete. My professors were generally nice and understanding when I needed an extension or couldn’t attend class in person.”

Harmon’s isolation continued until she was released on Oct. 17.

She said that, besides the subpar food, she thinks the university is doing the best they can. However Harmon said that communication with the local health department could be better.

“I think they could communicate more with the Jefferson County Health Department,” she said. “Getting multiple calls a day with conflicting information from both the university and the health department was unnecessary stress on me.”

Harmon is obviously not alone in her experience, and while she certainly isn’t an authority on campus safety, she did have a bit to say for her fellow peers.

“Just be honest. If you’re told to get a test, get a test. Don’t lie to contact tracers. Quarantine if you’re told to. Just follow the rules. ”

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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