MESSAGE FROM JANUARY 28, 2020
To: Seton Hill University Community
From: Annette Smiach CRNP; Health Services
Re: Novel Coronavirus Outbreak
Date: January 28, 2020
As you have likely heard the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness cause by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. As of this release, confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been identified in the states of Washington, California, Arizona, and Illinois. While CDC considers this is a very serious public health threat, based on current information, the immediate health risk from coronavirus to the general American public is considered low at this time.
Symptoms for people with confirmed coronavirus infections have ranged from little to no symptoms, to being severely ill and death. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The CDC believes symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Although routes of transmission have yet to be definitively determined, it is thought to spread mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes (similar to the influenza virus).
If you develop the aforementioned symptoms within 14 days after travel from Wuhan, China OR you have had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from this area, please call Health Services or your primary healthcare provider before going to the office and mention your recent travel or close contact. Health Services or your healthcare provider will work with the state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for coronavirus.
Because there is no vaccine to prevent the coronavirus, the best prevention strategies are the same as those to prevent the flu:
- Avoid being exposed to the virus and always practice good hygiene.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use the alcohol-based hand sanitizers that are conveniently located throughout campus.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (not your sleeve); then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you have not received you flu vaccine, get vaccinated – it is not too late! Although it will not protect you against the coronavirus, it will reduce your chance of getting the flu and spreading it to others.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
If you are sick, stay home and rest! If you have a fever, do not return to class or work until you are fever free for 24 hours without the use of analgesics (ibuprofen, acetaminophen). If you are coughing, wear a mask (available in Health Services) to prevent transmission of the virus to others.
Center for Disease Control
PA Health Department