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Communicable Disease Prevention: Coronavirus
As part of Capital University’s commitment to promoting the health and wellness of our community, we are providing this update on communicable diseases, tips for prevention, and instructions for what to do if you get sick.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), working with local and state public health departments, is monitoring the current viral outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus first detected in China. There are several different strains of coronavirus, and this is a newly identified strain. While there is a large amount of media attention on this outbreak, the threat of this virus at this time is very low. There are only a few confirmed cases in the United States and no confirmed cases in Ohio at this time. The cases in the United States are individuals who have recently traveled to the U.S. from China.
According to the CDC, the risk to individuals depends on exposure. For the general public in the U.S., who are unlikely to have been exposed to this virus, the immediate health risk is considered low. At this time, there is no need to change any routine activities or behaviors. Capital will continue to follow guidance from local, state and federal public health officials. The University has policies and protocols in place for managing communicable and infectious disease outbreaks and works closely with public health officials to coordinate prevention and response.
The Center for Health and Wellness is prepared with supplies and protocols for all types of potential viral outbreaks including, but not limited to, the flu, Ebola, and the current coronavirus. Currently we are screening all patients for travel history and have precautions for containment in place in the event the screening would point to a likelihood of exposure to coronavirus.
As always, good hygiene is the best way to prevent the spread of any infection and is especially important during the cold and flu season. Key practices are:
Those with weakened immune systems and other chronic illnesses are the highest risk population for complications from communicable diseases like the flu, coronavirus and other viruses. Anyone participating in international travel to the higher risk areas for the coronavirus is advised to refer to the issued travel alerts from the U.S. Department of State and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) If you have traveled recently to these areas and are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, seek medical advice from a doctor.
The following is information from the CDC about coronavirus. The university will keep you updated on important information and developments to help keep the campus community healthy and safe.
How does the coronavirus spread?
Based on current information from the CDC, person-to-person spread is believed to occur through respiratory droplets with close contacts, similar to influenza and other respiratory pathogens. The incubation period from exposure to symptom onset is believed to be within 14 days. If a traveler returned from an outbreak area over 14 days ago, that person would be outside the parameters for disease onset.
What are the symptoms?
Coronaviruses typically cause respiratory illness in people. Symptoms of this disease would include fever and lower respiratory tract symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath. Based on current CDC guidance, patients will be tested for coronavirus if they have both:
What should I do if I feel sick?
If you have cold-like symptoms, you can help protect others by doing the following