Dental Student Tests Positive for COVID-19

Dentistry Today


A student at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry who had seen a patient while symptomatic for COVID-19 has tested positive for the virus.

The student had a headache as an initial symptom but was not showing signs of fever or respiratory issues while treating the patient. The next morning, the student developed a fever, did not attend school that day, and has been in self-isolation since.

College leadership says that it immediately contacted Johnson County Public Health. The individuals with whom the student had close contact with also have been identified and notified, including the patient.

The student was last on campus at the College of Dentistry on March 12, 2020. Also, the student does not live in the residence halls and is self-isolating off campus.

The College of Dentistry says it has communicated with students, faculty, and staff and is providing support to the student who has tested positive and to everyone in the college as needed.

Also, the college says it disinfects all operatories and other facilities as routine protocol for blood-borne pathogens and has intensified these efforts.

It is not the Iowa Department of Public Health’s practice to notify employers or institutions of positive cases. The university says it is able to share this news because the student self-identified, but it will not be able to report each time a member of its community tests positive moving forward.

The university further notes that the members of its community do not need to be tested unless they had direct contact with someone who has tested positive and who has symptoms such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Testing is currently limited, the university continues, and healthcare providers are able to determine if people need testing or treatment. Treatment is based on symptoms, and testing will not change treatment.

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