Permanent or current address: How are student COVID-19 cases tracked?

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ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Some of you reached out to us, asking how COVID-19 cases in college students are being tracked. You wanted to know whether they’re counted in the counties where they’re staying or where their permanent addresses are.

For example, if an EIU student gives their permanent address for whatever reason, and it’s not in Coles County, that could offset the totals. The good news is, through contact tracing, whatever health department they’re working with will figure out where they’re staying and contact the health department where they’re currently living. The danger is that it takes longer.

“By the time the other county or other state will find out about this, do an investigation, and then transfer the information to us, it could be days. And it’s pretty much of no use once you know of a positive case and you don’t put them in isolation… immediately or within 24 hours,” explained Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Epidemilioigist Awais Vaid.

Students and employees at EIU have all have been “very strongly encouraged” to get tested. On the other hand, the University of Illinois is requiring it. C-U Public Health District leaders say they recommend all universities require it. Both UI and EIU are asking students to use their current address. That way, if they test positive, it’s counted in the county they live in.

While EIU isn’t requiring students to get tested, they say they are providing incentives to get students to do it, like raffle tickets.

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