University Provost Ka Yee Lee and Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, Executive Vice President of the University for Biology and Medicine, updated the members of the University community on new guidelines issued by the Chicago Dept. of Public Health for precautions that universities should take to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Read their message here.
New Guidance: Due to continued increases of 2019-nCoV cases in China, the University is following these new recommendations from CDPH:
- Any students, academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, staff or visitors returning from mainland China on February 3 and onward are instructed not to attend school or work for 14 days after the return date. The University will excuse absences for this purpose. Anyone in this situation should immediately notify email@example.com and your local department.
- Those who returned from mainland China before February 3 and do not have respiratory symptoms can remain in school and work, according to CDPH. Individuals who returned between January 21 and February 2 and have developed respiratory symptoms including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing should stay home except to get medical care, and contact firstname.lastname@example.org. University representatives will immediately notify CDPH and help provide individualized guidance.
- In addition, the University asks that anyone who has returned from China since January 21 notify the University through the email@example.com email so we can provide guidance.
These steps are in keeping with the updated guidance issued by the CDC on February 3. On January 31 the U.S. State Department raised its travel advisory for China to Level 4: Do Not Travel. In addition, most major U.S. airlines have indicated that they are temporarily suspending or significantly decreasing their service to and from China. The University has strongly discouraged any travel to China and Hong Kong, and has temporarily closed our Center in Beijing and Yuen Campus in Hong Kong. In light of the current situation, anyone planning to return from China in the coming weeks should self-identify so we can inform them of potential challenges to their return.
At this time, we do not have patients at UChicago Medicine (UCM) or members of the University community who have tested positive for 2019-nCoV. UCM and the Student Health Service are continuing to screen patients in keeping with guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If you have questions about coronavirus or ways to prevent infection, please find this video Q&A with UCM Hospital Epidemiologist, Dr. Emily Landon. Further questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for China currently stands at Level 4: Do Not Travel and advises travelers to “be prepared for the possibility of travel restrictions with little or no advance notice” and to be aware that “most commercial air carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China.” The University strongly discourages all travel to mainland China and Hong Kong during this period by members of the University community.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. These steps include:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
For the most up-to-date information: https://wellness.uchicago.edu/news/article/university-monitoring-coronavirus/