Coronavirus Resource Reminder
The 2019 novel coronavirus is a new virus strain that is believed to have originated around the city of Wuhan, China, and started spreading among people in late 2019. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is closely monitoring the disease, which has now infected nearly 21,000 people worldwide.
The first person-to-person transmission of the virus reported in the U.S. was confirmed by the CDC on Jan. 30.
The CDC believes that symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. While the agency calls coronavirus a “very serious health threat,” the immediate risk is considered low.
As outlined in Executive Memorandum No. 25, faculty and staff travel is currently restricted based on the CDC’s current Warning Level 3 advisory. Special permission must be requested prior to travel commencement. Before faculty or staff begins this process, we encourage them to carefully review the U.S. State Department and CDC advisories.
The CDC currently had travel restrictions for the following countries: China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The agency asks individuals to home quarantine for 14 days and register with the local public health department for guidance.
Contact information for all county health departments in Nebraska is available here. Iowa county health department contact information is available here. If you do not develop symptoms during your 14-day quarantine and you are ready to return to work or class. Documentation of self-quarantine from a licensed health care provider is required to return to work or class. UNO employees, faculty members, students or on-campus community partners: Contact the Nebraska Medicine-UNO Health Center at 402.554.2374.
Those returning from the other countries identified above must register online with the Public Health Department with the following guidance:
1) Individuals who are showing no symptoms may return to the campus and resume normal work activities, unless they had direct contact with someone with COVID-19 or worked in a health care facility. See number three below.
2) Individuals who develop symptoms (e.g. fever or respiratory symptoms) should promptly remove themselves from campus or stay home and:
- Inform the Nebraska Medicine UNO Health Center and
- Inform the Public Health Department through the website or as instructed
- UNO will then coordinate with the Public Heath Department to have the person evaluated and tested. This practice is also congruent with NE HHS guidance.
3) For those who had higher risk while abroad – including contact with a known case of COVID-19 or working in a health care facility while abroad, they are required to institute the 14 day home quarantine, contact the public health department, and contact the Nebraska Medicine-UNO Health Center.
The CDC also encourages individuals to call their doctor or health care provider to tell them about your symptoms and your recent travel. They will provide further instruction about steps to take before your medical visit to help to reduce the risk that you will spread your illness to other people in the office or waiting room. In addition, CDC and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are implementing enhanced health screenings to detect travelers with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing when entering the United States.
Nebraska Medicine Primary and Immediate Care clinics and emergency departments are screening patients to promptly identify and evaluate any suspected cases. This includes the UNO Health Center. Travelers to certain parts of the world may have a higher risk.
All health care facilities, including the UNO Health Center, have interpreter services available if needed. The World Health Organization website has information website has information available in Chinese.
The CDC warned that it expects more confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. and outlined a set of everyday preventative actions to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
Avoid close contact with sick people.
While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
Stay home if you are sick.
Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.
If you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have traveled to China or were in close contact with someone with 2019-nCoV (novel coronavirus) in the 14 days before you began to feel sick, seek medical care. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
Above all, UNO encourages all students, faculty, and staff to be mindful of their overall health and wellness. Resources that include the Nebraska Medicine – UNO Health Center, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Accessibility Services Center and more are available on UNO’s Wellness page.
In February, Jane Meza, UNO and UNMC Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Engagement and International Programs, and Shelly Schwedhelm, Nebraska Medicine Executive Director of Emergency Management and Biopreparedness, joined Chancellor Jeffrey Gold, M.D., to answer crucial questions about coronavirus.