Why should I quarantine and when should I do it?
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COVID-19 Health and Wellness Information

Living with COVID-19 is challenging for all of us, especially as we understand that we all play a role in controlling the pandemic. It’s about each of us taking the proper steps to protect one another and then to stop that spread if someone becomes infected.

A question that I have been asked many times over the last couple of weeks is, “What’s the difference between quarantine and isolation?” And, “Which mask is best for me to wear?”

We are here to help you navigate these uncertain times and answer your questions. I encourage you to read on for details on those topics and to learn about more resources available for our University community.
Roy E. Weiss, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine
Chair, Department of Medicine
Chief Medical Officer for COVID-19
Choosing the proper mask


Some people have said that wearing a mask makes them feel light-headed or breathless, or gives them headaches. Wearing a mask takes some time to get used to, but it should never restrict your ability to breathe. Here are some tips that may help:
  • Modulate your voice; try not to speak loudly and pause more frequently to take breaths.
  • Go to a safe place away from others and remove the mask for a few minutes.
The mask must cover the nose and mouth to be effective. If wearing a mask is still bothering you, see your doctor for possible underlying respiratory conditions.
  • Face shields without masks are not acceptable as face shields alone do not protect from the spread of droplets.


Here are some definitions and protocols that will clarify how you should manage possible exposure to the coronavirus.

Isolation: If you have tested positive, you are requested to isolate, according to current CDC guidelines, for 10 days from the time of testing; have improvement of any symptoms; and be fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen for 24 hours.

Quarantine/Self-Quarantine: If you are in direct, close contact with a positive individual—for example a roommate or significant other—you should be tested. You will be required to be in quarantine for 14 days, even if you tested negative. If you have no symptoms, you are free from quarantine after day 14.

Abridged Quarantine: If you are in indirect, close contact with positive individuals—for example a hallmate living in a residence hall, or a casual contact in an apartment or house with shared common areas—you are placed in “abridged quarantine.” You should be tested and if negative remain in quarantine for five days and then tested again. If the repeat test is negative, you are then released from abridged quarantine.

In addition to our random surveillance on campus, in an abundance of caution, we may wish to test other individuals who live in the same building as those who test positive. These individuals do not need to be quarantined but will be tested.

If you are unsure whether you are an indirect or direct close contact with someone who has tested positive, the tracing program can assist you. Those on the Coral Gables and Marine campuses should call the COVID-19 Hotline at 305-243-ONE-U. Those on the Medical Campus should call 305-243-8378.


Everyone on campus—including students, faculty, and staff—is required to use a daily symptom checker and respond appropriately to the guidance it provides. It takes no more than two minutes to complete and is available online or via the UMiami mobile app, which is available for download from Google Play or the Apple app store.

We also ask that everyone use the online location density monitor before visiting popular locations on the Coral Gables Campus. The tool is updated in real time and reports if there is capacity at the various locations.


You can stay informed about the prevalence of COVID-19 within the University of Miami community by visiting our coronavirus dashboard. Go to coronavirus.miami.edu/dashboard for an updated report on the number of tests administered, the number of positive tests each day, the number of students in isolation or quarantine, and the number of hospitalizations.


In addition to the resources of the University’s Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, our Wellness Program is offering several options of support. The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and several community clinicians are providing individual, brief telehealth/telephone interventions to help all University faculty and University healthcare providers in bolstering resilience as they provide care to COVID-19 patients. These encounters are intended to offer support and advice and are not intended to be construed as psychiatric/psychological services. To select a date and time for your 30-minute individual support encounter, please visit https://doodle.com/poll/gnnkgqahat3r6gbw. A confirmation email from the staff will follow after your selection is privately submitted.

For students, the Counseling Center provides mental health services through HIPAA-compliant teleconferencing platforms. Counselors are certified and available to help any time by calling 305-284-5511. Additional resources are also available by visiting counseling.studentaffairs.miami.edu.


We all must do our part to protect everyone on campus. This means wearing face coverings and physically distancing, including not hosting or attending large gatherings on or off campus. If you see unsafe behavior, please report concerns using the ’Canes Care for ’Canes online form.


An initiative at UHealth offers convalescent plasma with COVID-19 antibodies as a treatment for patients who are seriously ill from the coronavirus infection or at serious risk of progression. The blood of individuals who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection contains antibodies that may decrease the viral load in patients and strengthen patients’ ability to fight this infection. If you have tested positive for the virus and it has been at least 28 days, please consider donating plasma. Here’s how to help.
We will share more health and wellness news in the next edition.


Students, faculty, and staff on the Coral Gables and Marine campuses who are experiencing possible symptoms consistent with, or who have been potentially exposed to, COVID-19 should contact the University’s COVID-19 hotline at 305-243-ONE-U, where UHealth physicians and providers are available to answer your questions and provide telemedicine services if needed.

Members of the Medical Campus should contact 305-243-8378.

For additional University of Miami COVID-19 information and resources, visit coronavirus.miami.edu.

If you are in distress or need counseling services, the Counseling Center provides mental health services through HIPAA-compliant teleconferencing platforms. Counselors are certified and available to help any time by calling 305-284-5511. Additional resources are also available by visiting counseling.studentaffairs.miami.edu.
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