Campus wide, COVID-19

Monitoring the coronavirus | March 6

By Jenna Johnson | March 6, 2020

The novel coronavirus, also called COVID-19, is a constant topic in recent global news. The virus was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Cases have spread to more than 70 countries, including the United States. As of March 6, 2020, there are no positive cases in South Carolina.

washing hands best prevention of illness
Washing hands is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Photo by Richard Esposito

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human coronaviruses are common worldwide and usually cause mild to moderate symptoms. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, ranging from mild to severe and may appear 2-14 days after exposure. The risk of severe side effects from coronaviruses is significantly lower in healthy adults. 

The new virus is a public health concern because much is still unknown about it. However, the immediate health risk to the general public is considered low at this time. A recent report for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) said that if an individual has not traveled to China or other affected area or had known contact with a COVID-19 case, it is highly unlikely that person is at risk for COVID-19. 

University officials are continuously monitoring the CDC, DHEC, WHO and other agency updates to ensure we have the most current information. View U.S. case counts from the CDC here

Travel:

The CDC recommends avoiding nonessential travel to China, Iran, South Korea and Italy. See current CDC travel advisories here. On March 2, Dr. Jacqueline Fish, Charleston Southern’s vice president for academic affairs, announced that all planned international trips for faculty, staff and students will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 

“We will continue to follow the U.S. State Department’s Travel Advisory website to determine the viability of proposed international travel,” she said, adding that overseas trips already in queue are in contact with Stephanie LeVan, director of the Global Education Center at CSU.

Accessing Medical Care & Prevention Strategies:

Campus Health Resources page is available with the latest on public health concerns, student access to healthcare, as well as general hygiene recommendations to prevent illness. 

Dr. Christine Palmer, director of the public health program at CSU, said, “Currently, the virus most likely to affect our campus community is influenza, known commonly as the flu. The two best things we can do to prevent the flu is to wash your hands frequently and get a flu shot. Receiving a flu shot not only reduces your risk of getting the flu, it can also lessen the severity of symptoms if you are infected.”

If you do feel sick, please remember:

  • Individuals with a fever should avoid contact with others until fever-free for at least 24 hours. Stay home when you are sick.
  • Students who are sick should email professors and copy the Student Success Center; employees should email/call/text their supervisors.
  • Residential students have one free appointment per semester with Trident Family Health across the street from campus. Same day and walk-in appointments are available.
  • Students are permitted to stay on campus if sick, but are encouraged to stay in their rooms in isolation and let their resident assistant know they are sick.

Whether you are sick or not, always remember to:

  • Wash your hands OFTEN with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Clean and disinfect commonly used objects and surfaces, such as phones, computers, tablets, doorknobs, etc.
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze in the crook of your arm or in a tissue, never with your hand.

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