Health Advisory, Coronavirus

January 23, 2020, 2:52 p.m.

To: University Community 
From: Krystle Armbruster, Director, Health Services
Subject: Health Advisory, Coronavirus

The Student Health Center has been following the news of an outbreak caused by a new kind of coronavirus, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other agencies.

While the risk of contracting the new coronavirus in the United States at this time is extremely low, we ask that any member of the student body, faculty, or staff who has been in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, within the last two weeks and has a fever with respiratory symptoms contact the Student Health Center or a healthcare provider immediately. We also strongly discourage travel to Wuhan during the current outbreak.

Frequently Asked Questions about Coronavirus 

What is coronavirus?

The coronavirus is in the same family as SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. When spread from person-to-person, the virus is spread through respiratory droplets. Coronaviruses can cause fever, diarrhea, respiratory complications, and pneumonia. It was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The first case noted in the United States was announced this week, on January 21. The World Health Organization says the virus likely first spread to humans through transmission from an animal at a live animal market, with evidence that transmission can also occur person-to-person. 

Why is there concern?

To date, there have been approximately 500 confirmed cases and 17 deaths. The cases have been mainly in China, although one has been reported in the state of Washington, with that patient being isolated in a hospital, doing well, and expecting to recover. The rising international concern comes ahead of Lunar New Year, with increased travel expected both locally and internationally to and from China. The CDC has advised that airports in the United States, including SFO in San Francisco and LAX is Los Angeles, set up additional security screenings for passengers coming from affected areas.

What can I do?

As news and updates are evolving, the CDC and local public health departments maintain the following recommendations:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing
  • Be meticulous about practicing good hand hygiene, especially after sneezing or coughing and before and after touching your face, being around a sick person, and eating; wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Avoid contact with others who are sick
  • Do not travel while you are sick
  • Those who cannot avoid being in an area affected by a coronavirus outbreak are advised to avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat)

For further information and guidance regarding the virus, please visit the CDC website. The Student Health Center can be reached at 909-748-8021 or