COVID-19 Illness and Exposure Guidance

Updated April 10, 2024

Follow the instructions on the Public Health Flowchart for COVID-19 and Respiratory Virus Symptoms if you feel sick, test positive, or are exposed, and know when to report illness.

The University’s COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan contains additional requirements and guidance for reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace.

UW Medicine medical center employees and University personnel working in patient-facing clinics should consult their clinical supervisor for site-specific respiratory disease/COVID-19 policies and reporting requirements.

If you were exposed to a person with COVID-19

  • You may continue normal activities (like returning to work and class) if you do not experience symptoms.
  • Consider taking precautions to protect those around you, such as wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator when around others at home and in public for the next 5 days.

If you have any symptoms

  • Stay home and away from others. Do not go to work or class.
  • Take a test for COVID-19. Free rapid antigen tests are available on UW campuses.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask or respirator if you must leave home for treatment or testing.
  • Follow CDC guidance to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.

If you test positive for COVID-19

  • People who test positive are strongly encouraged to notify friends, colleagues, and relatives who may been exposed.
  • If you are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 (per CDC), consult your healthcare provider for isolation guidance, treatments available, and telehealth options that can reduce your chances of being hospitalized.

Returning to normal activities

You can go back to your normal activities after having COVID-19 or another respiratory illness when both conditions below are true:

  • You are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication; and 
  • Your symptoms have improved.

Stay home if you continue to have a fever, or if other symptoms have not improved (or worsened). Refer to the CDC examples to know how long to stay home.

When resuming normal activities, take added precautions for the next 5 days such as:

Reporting illness

UW personnel who believe their COVID-19 illness was a result of a workplace exposure are required to submit an incident report (OARS) to Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) for follow up. Learn more about incident reporting.

If a supervisor believes personnel under their supervision are experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 or respiratory illness (more than 10% of personnel are out sick) notify EH&S.

UW Medicine responds to COVID-19 cases involving personnel at UW Medicine medical facilities.

Notifications and privacy

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are strongly encouraged to let their close contacts know about their positive test.

If an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 chooses to notify EH&S, the identity of individuals who are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 and their close contacts is protected and is disclosed only on a need-to-know basis to those involved in the public health response. This may include UW Human Resources representatives, supervisors, and department or unit leadership.


Contact EH&S at or (206) 616-3344.

UW medical center personnel may contact their employee health services.


COVID-19 Campus Support Contact

(206) 616-3344