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What to Expect when Expecting Covid Results

Leading up to this term, I knew my sophomore fall was going to be very different. I was going to be in a new dorm, there was going to be new people, and—oh yeah—we were going to live in the midst of a pandemic. I made sure to pack a bunch of hand sanitizers, boxes of masks, and my multivitamins to keep my immune system up. And when I got to campus, I made sure to isolate and quarantine for the first two weeks, per Dartmouth's policy. I was being smart and keeping myself and the community safe.

Then the symptoms came.

First, it was an odd sensation in my throat. Not necessarily sore, but something that led to constant throat clearing. Occasionally I would cough, but it was mostly just discomfort. Then came the runny nose. Then, the bouts of slight nausea. Coupled with my natural tendency to overthink and worry, I thought I had caught the virus.

My thoughts were swirling. Where would I have caught it? Was it running into a friend on the Green that gave it to me? Did I maybe get it from touching a contaminated doorknob? Did I somehow pass one of the few students who tested positive on my way to the BEMA (Big Empty Meeting Area) where I went to study? And of course, I was fearful that—if I did have it— Iwas a danger to my fellow classmates and to the faculty. Thankfully, the College had a pretty good COVID-19 response process that not only quelled my fears but made sure I was taken care of.

My Isolation Dorm Even had its own Bathroom!
My isolation dorm even had its own bathroom!
Daily, every student must complete a check-up to see if they have any COVID-19 related systems, such as nausea, a cough, or a fever. I put down that I had symptoms, which directed me to a physician's assistant at Dick's House, who set up a Zoom meeting to assess me. The PA that I met with was extremely kind. She listened patiently as I talked about my symptoms and my worries of potentially having COVID-19, and how my symptoms might just be seasonal allergies or post-nasal drip. She nicely explained the process Dartmouth had in place for people with symptoms. I was to go to Dick's House and get a COVID test, then report to one of the many isolation dorms the College had. There, I would stay and have my food delivered to me until we found out if I was positive or negative. With the PA's positivity, I was able to feel at peace with the entire situation, and after I got tested, she even gave me some water and Gatorade for my hydration!
After my test
This was actually taken my second time getting tested, but this nurse was amazing as well!
I went then to the Lodge, one of the isolation dorms. There, I set my meals for the upcoming days in quarantine, which were then sent to the dorm so I could pick them up. 

The people involved in this entire process were extremely helpful. At one point, I realized that I didn't have a phone charger on me, so I frantically emailed Dick's House to see if they by any chance had one I could borrow. One of the nurses brought me a charger, as well as a pumpkin muffin she had baked. I was touched!

My muffin and I!
My muffin and I!

And after two nights in quarantine, I finally got my result: Negative. I breathed a sigh of relief, joyful that I did not have the virus. But I was also really grateful. Not only was the Health Services at Dartmouth efficient with getting me tested and put in isolation, but they were also extremely kind and helped me feel calm throughout the whole ordeal. I'm very thankful that they were there and that they made this process much better than expected!

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