COVID-19 at University of Iowa: Student tests positive, laments experience

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‘I simply can’t do this’: UI trainee who checked positive for COVID-19 states school reaction

Zachary Oren Smith
Iowa City Press-Citizen
Published 12:26 PM EDT Aug 23, 2020

Annie Gaughan, 18, was delighted about moving into her dormitory. On opposite sides of a blue shaggy rug, 2 lofted beds were curtained with overhanging sheets. Under Gaughan’s, a gray futon was overflowing with pillows. Circling her bed, she ‘d hung a string of white Christmas lights. There were frames, light pastel colors and photos of her parents and their Schnoodle pet, Lucy.Gaughan was in

the UI honors program, meaning she got to move into Daum Hall on Saturday, days before other freshmen. She met her roommate and her roommate’s family. And they took turns rotating lemon and eucalyptus scents in their important oils diffuser.She was 3 hours from her home in Park Ridge, Illinois. Said she was delighted to finally be moving in.At about 7 p.m., Gaughan strolled with a group of other girls from the dormitory to get dinner. The pandemic wasn’t brand-new. Gaughan used her mask dutifully, eliminating it just for bites of cheese pizza at the Airliner.That night, back at Daum , they listened to music. Played games. Viewed videos. Seven approximately relaxed the dormitory space,

getting to know individuals who could be their good friends for the next 4 years– or a lifetime.While anxious, she felt fine.Annie Gaughan’s room in Daum Hall as seen, Aug. 20, 2020. Special to the Press-Citizen A positive COVID-19 outcome at the University of

Iowa The first sign was a headache.

Nothing out of the common.(“I didn’t offer it much thought.
“)Waking up Sunday early morning, Gaughan and the women from the night before went for some Starbucks.Returning to her dorm, Gaughan and her roomie were

still unpacking. The UI provided bundles to trainees to get ready for the pandemic. Tooling around in the box, they found a thermometer. Her headache had not ceased, so Gaughan chose to take her temperature: The thermometer read 101.1 degrees.She figured it was just nerves. She had just relocated. She was fulfilling a lot of new people. Still, over the phone, her mother informed her to make a telehealth appointment.Some hours later on, a doctor called. They spoke about where she had actually remained in the previous days and the only possibly worrying minute was a trip to the ER 5 days earlier, back in Illinois. She knew there were COVID-19 patients in the lobby, however everyone was wearing masks and they lagged plexiglass barriers, anyway.The physician stated he didn’t believe she ‘d contracted the novel coronavirus that triggers the illness that’s killed more than 170,000 throughout the U.S. and more than 1,000 here in Iowa.(” He stated,’You don’t have symptoms. And I would not usually put out a referral, but you seem anxious.’ “)He reserved Gaughan a test and, at 3 p.m. Sunday, an individual took a swab of Gaughan’s nasal cavity and sent her out, saying she ‘d get her results in 12 to 24 hours.At about 7 p.m., she was walking campus with her roommate when she looked down at her phone. An e-mail explained that her outcomes had actually been sent to the Iowa Department

of Public Health” per policy”– she had actually evaluated positive for COVID-19. Not understanding what to do, she stated she felt her heart race. The set chose to go back to Daum.Ann Gaughan is

a University of Iowa trainee who tested positive for COVID-19. Special to the Press-Citizen While the university has an online self-reporting kind for people who test favorable for COVID or think they’ve touched with somebody else who’s evaluated positive, Gaughan stated she didn’t understand to fill it out. She stated her RA didn’t seem to know what the next actions were, either. The RA stated they would make some phone calls. Gaughan and her roomie went to their space.”We just sat there waiting on

hours– waiting on something, anything,

“she said.She stated the RA informed her roommate that they shouldn’t be making calls house about the results– that they ought to wait for the school to find out what to do.After hours of radio silence, an administrator with UI Real estate and Dining informed her to load all of the important things she would need for the next 14 days. ► More, Wednesday:’ You, Bruce, are the herald of death ‘: UI graduate trainee employees require online classes ► More, Thursday: Two days in a row, Iowa City protesters prompt the University of Iowa scrap prepare for in-person classes this fall At 11:02 p.m., Gaughan got an e-mail from the”Housing and Dining COVID Reaction Team” telling her she ‘d been reassigned to Currier Hall. Inspect out involved quiting the secret to her room in Daum, a long packing list and a hike to her new room.”Please remember, “the e-mail said,”you must be able to carry everything that you give short-term stay real estate.” Gaughan went to work tearing through drawers for clothing she had actually put away just a day prior to: toiletries

, medications, books and treats. She didn’t understand how she ‘d carry all of it. “That’s a lot. You clearly can’t bring all

of that, but I didn’t have any boxes or bags. “Although the RA told her roommate she wasn’t enabled to assist her pack, she slipped Gaughan a baggage cart, a little generosity at a time when her journey to school felt like it was drawing out of control.

“I was informed to collect my things and walk by myself from Daum to Currier with a heavy cart of my things … all while remaining in an unusual location late in the evening,”Gaughan composed in a series of messages posted initially to Instagram.”It was my 2nd night in Iowa.”► STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE CURRENT: Follow the Press-Citizen on Facebook, Twitter and

Instagram A quarantine dorm room that left a lot to be wanted Pushing her cart to Currier, she discovered

herself struggling to point the wheels up and down ramps.Moving through Currier, the location looked terrific. But she quickly reached a section that looked older than the rest. Gaughan stated it looked like it had not been remodelled with the rest of the building.While the UI claims to have actually spent months sanitizing academic structures and dormitory, Gaughan stated that care seemed to have actually been missing from the space she was offered. ► The newest, Sunday: Johnson County’s positivity rates soar as UI prepares to resume in-person classes Monday As quickly as her cart came to rest outside her brand-new room, NO12, she noticed the odor. Which was great. She ‘d brought an air freshener.

Next was the sink, which had a rusty ring around the drain with fractures marking the porcelain. Where her former space was complete of brilliant colors, it was 11:30 p.m. at night. Here, fluorescent bulbs glared off the stale white walls and sun-bleached drapes. She said the bed mattress in the space was gritty with dust.Annie Gaughan took this picture her brand-new sink in Currier Hall, as seen Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020.

Special to the Press-Citizen She was worn out, too. The contactless check-in had actually left her feeling put out. She called the Currier Hall’s coordinator, who stated hers was the first positive case they ‘d dealt with.”I told him that the spaces were dreadful, and he stated they weren’t actually anticipating anyone getting COVID on the very first day

— said they ‘d been truly busy with routine school operations just getting people here, “Gaughan said.She stated the organizer told her this was her only choice for quarantining on school: She might remain in Currier or have her parents pertain to get her. With house three hours away, her choice was clear.”I started to feel my heart rate pick up more. I felt woozy, so I tried to ground myself. I was, like, trying everything I understood to relax down. My hands and legs went numb and tingly. I took a seat in a chair in

the room they provided me. I thought, ‘If I do not sit down on the floor, I will slide and
fall out,’ “Gaughan recalled.Her mother, who had been on the phone with her, called an ambulance.”By that point, I was so out of it,”Gaughan said.Law enforcement and EMS responded to Currier at 12:29 a.m. By the time they arrived, some deep breathing had helped

her gain back enough composure to feel comfy sending out the paramedics away.” I was exhausted,”she said. She got some blankets and walked over to the room next door, which looked”less filthy” than the one she had actually been designated, and went to sleep.

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Cold rice, bottles of water, and a choice to go it alone Gaughan spent the night on the flooring and woke to ants in her blankets. At about 11:30 a.m. Monday, staff brought a meal of cold rice and meat, a bag of chips, a bag of cookies and a cup of apple sauce. With it came her daily provision of three plastic bottles of water. This was Gaughan’s

3rd day in Iowa City, and she was currently ready to leave.While she wished to go house, her

parents, she said, are in a CDC-recognized high-risk classification. She scheduled a hotel room in Naperville, Illinois.She was unable to get a Zipcar, so she chose to purchase a bus ticket, instead.” I seemed like, at that point, I didn’t have the support I needed to

remain,” Gaughan stated.” I chose ‘I just can’t do this.'”► More: Records show only 2%of UI employees declared COVID-related accommodation She lugged some things to the bus stop

and, 4 1/2 hours later, inspected into the hotel room she’s called home given that. At thispoint, she’s invested$700 between the bus ticket and the previous few days in her hotel room. She stated, she wasn’t about to give the UI another night.

“They are informing students and parents they are gotten ready for

covid, however they lied. They are not,”Gaughan wrote.”I was informed’we weren’t ‘expecting anybody to have covid on the very first day ‘so none of the isolation spaces had actually been set up or cleaned, yet I was still forced to remain there. “I actually hope that the university transitions to online at this moment since they are not gotten ready for trainees who check positive for covid.

At this rate, we will not be open for more than a few weeks.” The University of Iowa reacts Gaughan’s account went viral on social media today.

It began as a long thread posted to Instagram but migrated across platforms, eventually catching the eye of university officials.On Thursday, Von Stange, assistant vice president for Student Life and senior director of University Housing and

Dining, asked forgiveness, stating in part,”the experience described does not fulfill the expectations of the university

, Real estate and Dining and, most significantly, you, the students. For that, I am deeply sorry. “Zachary Oren Smith composes about federal government, development and advancement for the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Reach him at, at 319 -339 -7354 or on Twitter via @Zacharyos. Your membership makes work like this possible. Subscribe today at Press-Citizen. com/Subscribe. Released 12:26 PM EDT Aug 23, 2020