COVID-19 Health Advisory
The current COVID-19 Community Level in Richmond is MEDIUM.
Community levels are defined by the CDC as low, medium, or high based on hospitalization data and the number of new COVID cases in the area. Community levels are used as a guide to help make personal decisions about which preventive measures to take against COVID.
VCU offers free COVID PCR testing on campus to students evaluated through Student Health:
- If you have symptoms concerning for COVID, please self-isolate and call Student Health at 804-828-8828 (or 804-MYCOVID when clinic is closed) for free testing and further recommendations. Even if you think it's just a cold or allergies, your symptoms could still be due to COVID!
- If you have been exposed to someone with COVID and do not have symptoms, please mask anytime you are around others (both at home and in public) for 10 days after your last exposure and call Student Health at 804-828-8828 during regular business hours to discuss post-exposure testing.
- COVID testing is typically completed on Day 6 following the exposure (Day 0 is the day of last exposure).
- If symptoms develop, isolate and get tested sooner.
Free rapid antigen test kits are available to students at the CARE Building (800 W. Broad St, M-F 8am-4pm) and in COVID-19 supply vending machines on both campuses (click on the link and scroll to the bottom for locations). Students are allowed to pick up 2 packs per month.
COVID vaccination is no longer required for students. Student Health strongly encourages students to be vaccinated and boosted against COVID. Unvaccinated individuals are significantly more likely to have severe infections and/or hospitalizations due to COVID. Vaccines also provide protection against complications, such as long COVID.
- Students can schedule free COVID vaccine appointments at both campus clinics through the Web Portal.
- To complete vaccination off-campus, visit your local pharmacy or www.vaccines.gov.
COVID-19 Patient Education
Additional information about COVID-19 can be found at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the World Health Organization (WHO), and VCU Health System's website.
I’m sick. How do I know if it is COVID or something else, like the cold or flu?
- Even if you think it's just a cold or allergies, it's important to self-isolate and contact Student Health for testing. COVID symptoms are often very similar to cold, flu, or allergy symptoms. The only way to tell the difference is with COVID testing.
- Common symptoms of COVID may include fever/chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, body aches, headache, fatigue, congestion, runny nose, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
For how long is someone with COVID contagious?
- A person diagnosed with COVID is considered contagious beginning 2 days before the start of symptoms (or a positive test if there are no symptoms) until 10 days after the start of symptoms (or a positive test if asymptomatic). The risk of transmission is lower during days 6-10 of the illness.
- People with severe infections or significant underlying health issues may be infectious for longer.
When is masking required?
- After a COVID-positive individual is released from isolation, they should mask anytime they around other people, both at home and in public, until 10 days after the start of symptoms (or a positive test if there are no symptoms).
- Asymptomatic individuals identified as close contacts to COVID should mask for 10 days after the date of last exposure. If the COVID-positive person is in your household and cannot fully isolate away from you, the day of last exposure will be the day the infected person is released from isolation.
- Masks are required in all VCU healthcare settings.
Does it matter what kind of mask I wear?
If masking, use the most protective mask you can that fits you well and that you will wear consistently.
How is COVID impacting travel?
Guidelines for travel are changing frequently with the pandemic. Please visit the CDC's website for the latest recommendations and alerts related to domestic travel, international travel, and cruise ship travel.