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What to do if you feel sick

Stay home, limit contact with others, and contact your health care provider.

Updated: January 27, 2021

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Know the symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Contact your health care provider if you have symptoms.
  • Self-isolate and complete the COVID-19 self-isolation form.
  • Expect communications from the contact tracing team.

The CDC website has the latest list of COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of taste or smell.

Students or employees who have symptoms should:

  • Stay home, limit contact with others, and contact their health care provider or, if needed, their local emergency room. Always call ahead before going to a health care provider or ER. Students can call the Student Health Center nurse triage line at 865-974-5080. After-hours care has been arranged for eligible students through the UT Medical Center emergency room at 865-305-9000. Learn more about Student Health Center eligibility and cost. Always call 911 in case of emergency.
  • Advise your health care provider regarding your recent travel history or other exposure risk.
  • Avoid travel on public transportation.

When being tested for COVID-19, it is imperative that students list their Knoxville address. Using an address that is outside of Knox County will delay when the Knox County Health Department receives results. The Student Health Center will provide testing for symptomatic students and for asymptomatic students who are close contacts of a COVID-19 case.

Learn more about testing.

COVID-19 self-isolation form

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19, you should self-isolate and complete the COVID-19 self-isolation form.

What if I previously tested positive for COVID-19?

According to the CDC, people who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 and completed their isolation do not need to isolate or be tested again for up to three months as long as they do not develop symptoms again. People who develop symptoms again within three months of a COVID-19 diagnosis should consult a health care provider. Continue to monitor your health daily for symptoms. Stay home anytime you do not feel well.


If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should stay home and limit contact with others. If you must be around people or need to leave home for essential trips such medical visits, remember to:

  • Practice diligent wearing of face coverings.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hand) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus. Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.

What to expect if you test positive for COVID-19

Your health care provider should contact you regarding your positive test results and provide you with further directives regarding your present care, follow-up evaluations, and isolation requirements.

Anyone who submits a COVID-19 self-isolation form will be contacted by the university contact tracing staff — generally within 24 hours, but the response time can vary depending on case loads.

The contact tracing team’s role is to check on a student or employee’s situation, help connect them to support resources, provide guidance, and help contact others who may need to take precautions.

Students and employees are asked to promptly respond to communications (text, call, or email) from local health authorities and the university’s contact tracing team.

How and where to self-isolate

There are two types of self-isolation.

  • Quarantine is for people who may have been exposed because of close contact with a COVID-19 case, travel, or other reasons.
  • Isolation is for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19.

Your health care provider or the university’s contact tracing team will determine whether you need to quarantine or isolate.

To learn more about what to expect in quarantine or isolation, including precautions you need to take, university-arranged quarantine and isolation space for on-campus students, meal options, academics, and health and care, read the guide on how and where to self-isolate.


Guidance is available for faculty and staff on COVID-19 and insurance.

Students who have the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) from United Health Care Student Resources can call the Student Health Center Business Office at 865-974-3135 or the local SHIP insurance broker, the Hildreth Agency, at 865-691-4652.

Questions regarding COVID-19 health insurance benefits from other providers should be directed to the insurer’s customer service line. A customer service number is typically listed on the back of the insurance card.

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