What is the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
COVID-19 is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Since then, the virus has been identified in multiple other countries, including cases in the United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:
It is newly identified, so much is still unknown about it.
Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have caused severe illness.
What is the risk?
The CDC considers this new virus a public health concern based on current information. The CDC and the World Health Organization are closely monitoring the situation and providing ongoing guidance.
Symptoms and transmission:
Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Person-to-person spread is occurring, although it’s unclear exactly how it is transmitted and how easily the virus spreads between people.
People infected with Coronavirus (COVID-19) should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended.
There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
To help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
- 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 sanitizer.
- 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.
What do I do if I think I am exposed or if I get sick?
First, don’t panic! Off-campus students should contact their primary health care provider, explain their symptoms and notify Creighton at coronavirusresponse [at] creighton [dot] edu if they test positive. On-campus students should complete this screening tool provided by Student Health Education and Compliance. If “YES” is the response to any questions, you will be contacted by a registered nurse from the Student Health Education and Compliance Office.
Who is at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness?
Infection control experts consider the following groups at increased risk of complication from COVID-19. Those who have compromised immune systems due to health condition, or treatment for chronic condition that results in decreased ability to fight infection, increased susceptibility to illness.
- People who have heart or lung disease are prone to having more significant illness.
- Older people-those over age 65.
- Recommendations for those at higher risk:
- Contact your primary care provider for direction that is specific to your condition. The CHI-Health Student Care Clinic can be reached by calling 402-280-2735 option 2.
- Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about any recent travel and your symptoms.
For More Information:
- Visit the CDC website for the most current Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates.
- Visit Nebraska Health and Human Services for the most current local updates.
- Contact the Global Engagement Office for Study Abroad Questions.
- Call 402.280.2735 to reach the Student Health Education and Compliance Office or the CHI Health Student Care Clinic.