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Coronavirus Update and Health Tips

Section 1

Jan 26, 2020

Dear Anteaters,

As you may have heard in news reports, the CDC and Orange County Health Care Agency have confirmed a positive case of the Novel Wuhan Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Orange County.

We have been informed this individual is not a UCI student, faculty, staff, or patient. However, this is a serious matter, and we continue to monitor the situation. UCI and UCI Health have implemented measures to protect our community should a patient be identified in the future.

We realize that there are many questions about the virus, its impact, and what it means for the UCI campus community. The FAQ below is provided to help answer basic questions about the virus, to share steps for keeping yourself healthy, and to provide guidance if you feel that you have potential symptoms or exposure.

Any member of our community suspecting they have influenza or the Coronavirus should stay home. Students should call the Student Health Center at (949) 824-5304, or call their primary medical provider prior to arriving at the medical office. This will allow us to provide you with information on your illness, and to plan for your visit to the clinic, if needed. Faculty and staff should contact their provider’s office for additional instructions about seeking care.

The campus continues to operate normally. As the campus and medical center leadership continue to evaluate the situation in Orange County, we will share updates by email and on the Student Health Center website. 

We appreciate your cooperation and support in protecting the UCI community.

Albert S. Chang, MD, MPH
Medical Director, UCI Student Health Center

Coronavirus FAQ – Jan. 26, 2020

What is the Coronavirus?

The 2019 Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) comes from a large family of viruses that are a common cause of mild upper respiratory infections, but also include both SARS and MERS, which can cause more serious disease. Most patients with coronavirus have mild symptoms, however this new virus has resulted in cases of severe illnesses and deaths reported in China.

To learn more about the coronavirus, the CDC website is a reliable source of updated information:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

What is being done to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus?

To reduce further spread of the infection, Wuhan City and nearby areas have implemented travel restrictions. Airports in the US (including LAX), are now screening entering travelers from certain areas for symptoms of respiratory infection.

Locally, this is an evolving situation. The campus and medical center are in coordination with Orange County Health Care Agency resources and the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) to provide ongoing clinical guidance.

Have there been any POSITIVE (2019-nCoV) Coronavirus cases on the UCI Campus?

No, we are informed there are currently no positive Coronavirus cases on the UCI campus or at the UCI Medical Center. Detailed information of confirmed cases in the U.S. can be found on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website as such information becomes available.

Is there a vaccine for Coronavirus, and can I be tested for Coronavirus if I feel unwell?

There is currently no vaccine for Coronavirus (2019-nCoV); however, the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) are working around the clock to develop one.

The only current testing for the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is done at the CDC Laboratories in Atlanta, Georgia. At this point, testing is only performed for patients who meet all of the clinical and travel criteria.

What should I do if I think I have the Coronavirus? 

If you have a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough, difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath:

  • Stay Home from school/work if you are having symptoms 
  • Wash your hands and stay well hydrated/drinking fluids 
  • Cover your cough, and avoid close contact with others 
  • Call your healthcare provider to make an appointment 

If you have traveled to Wuhan, China, or have been in close contact with someone who has recently traveled to Wuhan, China, within 14 days before the onset of your symptoms, please notify your provider/clinic BEFORE entering their office. It is important to call so that your provider/clinic can be prepared for your visit.

The UCI Student Health Center has developed triage screening (by phone and at our front desks) and has implemented additional protocols to help identify possible cases of coronavirus to provide optimal care for those with symptoms and to protect other patients and staff.

UCI Students should call Student Health Center at (949) 824-5304.

UCI Faculty and Staff should call their healthcare provider immediately for care.

What can I do to help keep from getting the Coronavirus, or other infections?

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work, or school
  • Practice healthy habits: get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food
  • If you have not received your annual flu shot, please visit the UCI SHC website to review the schedule, and schedule a Flu Shot visit

Do face masks protect against coronavirus? Do I need one?

For now, public health officials say there’s no need to wear face masks in the United States; however, there is likely no harm in adding this additional layer of prevention, especially for people who think they may be sick.

Health-care workers interacting with coronavirus patients or suspected cases will follow CDC recommendations to wear the N95 respirator mask, along with other precautions like gloves and eye protectors.

How will I know if things change/there are any cases at UCI?

The UCI Student Health Center will continue to screen and identify possible cases of Coronavirus. We are committed to providing optimal care for those with symptoms, and to helping ensure appropriate treatment and exposure prevention. As the situation changes and we have new information, we will send timely updates to the campus community.