As of Nov. 14, there have been 19 total COVID-19 positive test results reported from the UCSC testing center, with one case being an on-campus student.
Located in the Lower East Quarry, The Village is a housing community normally buzzing with students. This year, The Village lies dormant, only visited by students in need of an isolation facility while awaiting negative COVID-19 test results.
This isolation facility provides students who have tested positive adequate space to quarantine while also allowing them to remain on campus, continue classes, and safely receive meals.
“The longest anybody would be in [isolation] is for two weeks. Most people are in for a much shorter time,” Executive Director of Housing Services, Dave Keller said. “They get a test, [it] comes back negative, and they leave. That’s the most common scenario. We’ve only managed two positive cases.”
So far, The Village has temporarily housed 30 students, but Keller says they have the capacity to hold 51 isolation cases at once, and 153 beds available for students in need of quarantine.
Students arriving at the isolation facility can transport themselves if they have access to a vehicle, or they can be picked up by medical transport provided by the university. Each room in The Village is set up with bed linens, a private bathroom, a refrigerator and microwave, and a “toolkit” containing personal protective equipment (PPE), snacks, thermometers, and more.
While students live and work from their rooms, a dining services group called the “Quarantine Caterers” come by every other day to deliver two days’ worth of dining hall meals chosen by the student. Case managers from Student Health Services and “Quarantine Buddies,” staff members from their college office, check in on the student and keep them company while they isolate.
“[The staff member] then gets in touch with the student every day to see how things are going, and how they’re feeling” Interim Executive Director of Student Life Alex Belisario said. “We understand that being alone there might feel a little lonely, or isolated — which is the goal in the health sense, but not in the psychological sense.”
Once students are ready to leave The Village, the room they isolated in sits empty for three days and is thoroughly cleaned before another student needs to use it. With such a small number of cases, however, no rooms are in constant use.
Outside of isolation, the Student Health Center (SHC) offers free COVID-19 testing to asymptomatic students regardless of whether or not they have UC SHIP, the university’s insurance plan. However, if a student is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and has opted out of UC SHIP, they may incur additional charges if the SHC does an examination.
Even if students are living off campus, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Health and Wellness Gary Martin Dunn encourages everyone to receive a COVID test. The SHC now conducts swab tests that Dunn says are quick and painless.
“It’s easy, takes five minutes, and there’s no pain involved,” said Dunn. “If there are students out there who are fearful of getting tested because they think it’s going to be a difficult process, then we want to encourage them to come in and give it a try.”
For more information about scheduling a COVID-19 test at the Student Health Center, click here.