2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID-19

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2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia 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. There are no cases in Michigan.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is closely monitoring the situation, and considers the risk to the American public as low.

This is a rapidly changing situation. This page will be updated below as additional guidance becomes available from public health officials and others.


Latest update: Feb. 20, 2020 

During remarks at the Feb. 20 U-M Board of Regents meeting, President Schlissel made a statement in support of those affected by the COVID-19 virus and condemning xenophobia surrounding the virus.

Read the full statement here.


Feb. 1, 2020 at 11 a.m.

Following the World Health Organization’s decision to declare the 2019 novel coronavirus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, U.S. President Donald Trump declared on Jan. 31 that the coronavirus presents a public health emergency in the United States.

U-M officials and medical experts, in close coordination with the state and local public health experts, are closely monitoring these developments and will offer additional guidance to the university community as soon as it is available.

Currently, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus within the state of Michigan and the risk associated with coronavirus in the U.S. remains low.

As part of this federal action to prevent further spread of the virus, the U.S. government will implement temporary measures effective Feb. 2 at 5 p.m. The proclamation indicates:

  • Any U.S. citizen returning to the U.S. who has been in China’s Hubei Province in the previous 14 days will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine to ensure they are provided proper medical care and health screening.
  • Any U.S. citizen returning to the U.S. who has been in the rest of Mainland China within the previous 14 days will undergo proactive entry health screening at a select number of ports of entry and up to 14 days of home quarantine with public health monitoring to ensure they have not contracted the virus and do not pose a public health risk.
  • Temporary suspension of entry into the U.S. for foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the 2019 novel coronavirus. Foreign nationals, other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled in China within the last 14 days, will be denied entry into the U.S. for this time.

This proclamation is effective at 5 p.m. eastern standard time on Feb. 2, 2020, and will be reviewed for renewal, modifications or termination no more than 15 days after it goes into effect.


Frequently Asked Questions

2019-nCoV is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

Since then, cases have been identified in multiple other countries including the U.S.

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.

The CDC considers this new virus a public health concern based on current information. However, the immediate health risk to the general U.S. public is considered low at this time. The CDC and the World Health Organization are closely monitoring the situation and providing ongoing guidance.

Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • 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.

Recommendations for people with respiratory symptoms:

If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing and in the last 14 days:

  • You traveled to/through Wuhan City or Hubei province, OR
  • You visited another affected region in China, OR
  • You had close contact with someone who has laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV within 14 days of symptom onset.

You should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency department, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
    • U-M students and other UHS patients may call UHS at 734-764-8320, day or night.
    • Others may contact their health care provider or call the Washtenaw County Health Department at 734-544-6700.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick. Please do not use public transportation or arrive unannounced at UHS. Individuals should instead call (734-764-8320). UHS offers advice by phone day or night, to help save students (and other UHS patients) a trip to UHS or the emergency department.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available

Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. (source: CDC)

Not at this time, although research that could lead to a vaccine is moving ahead quickly.

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.

Currently, 2019-nCoV has not been found to be spreading in the U.S., so there are no additional precautions recommended for the general public.

Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of all 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.

The CDC does not recommend that people without symptoms wear a mask. You may be asked to wear a mask when visiting a health care facility and some individuals may choose to wear a mask.

The U.S. State Department classifies China as a level 4 travel advisory, recommending that individuals avoid all travel to the country.

The entire country remains under a U-M Travel Restriction as described on the U-M Global Michigan China page. All U-M Related Travel to China, including for faculty and staff, is discouraged. Visit Global Michigan for details.

Personal travel to China is also discouraged.

All travel to China at this time is discouraged. While the International Travel Policy SPG 601.31 does not regulate personal travel, all faculty, staff and students on personal travel are discouraged from traveling to China at this time. If personal travel to China is essential, you should:

  1. Review the “Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus” to understand how traveling to China may affect your ability to re-enter the U.S.
  2. Review the U-M Travel Restriction for China on Global Michigan, the CDC Novel Coronavirus in China alert, and the routinely updated CDC 2019-nCoV Situation Summary to double-check that your destination isn’t under quarantine.
  3. Register your travel.
  4. Contact the Global Engagement Team at umich-itoc@umich.edu to discuss any travel concerns.
  5. Enroll in the U-M Travel Abroad Health Insurance with GeoBlue.

Then, follow the CDC’s travel advice for China:

Consult with a doctor prior to travel if you have any health-related concerns.

  • Avoid traveling while sick (traveling with a fever from an unrelated condition could result in increased screenings and other travel issues).
  • Expect additional screenings at airports and transit hubs – allow for extra travel time.
  • Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
  • Practice good hygiene through frequent handwashing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environments.
  • Prevent close contact with live or dead farm or wild animals.

The International Center has reached out to most scholars who were planning to come to campus this month to alert them that the U.S. government has temporarily suspended entry into the U.S. for foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Departments should contact any individuals whose immigration documents were not issued by U-M’s International Center (e.g., B1/B2 tourist visa holders) to inform them of the university’s guidance.

Foreign nationals, other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled in China within the last 14 days, are being denied entry into the U.S., starting at 5 p.m. Feb 2, for at least the next 15 days. The suspension may be extended.

Individuals who are not ill and have not traveled in Hubei Province are not subject to mandatory self-quarantine. This guidance is based on the current information available from the CDC.

If you have been to Hubei Province in the past 14 days and are ill, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
    • U-M students and other UHS patients may call UHS at 734-764-8320, day or night.
    • Others may contact their health care provider or call the Washtenaw County Health Department at 734-544-6700.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Please do not use public transportation or just arrive at UHS. Call ahead to UHS instead (734-764-8320). UHS offers advice by phone day or night, to help save students (and other UHS patients) a trip to UHS or the emergency department.

Effective Feb. 2, the U.S. government suspended entry of foreign nationals who have been in China within the past 14 days. U.S. citizens, residents and their immediate family members who have been in Hubei Province and other parts of mainland China are allowed to enter the United States, but they are subject to health monitoring and possible quarantine for up to 14 days.

International students, scholars and employees should contact the International Center at icenter@umich.edu to discuss. For those individuals whose immigration related documents were issued by another institution, they should contact their respective international office for advice.

Based on current CDC guidance, faculty and staff should not tell individuals to stay home solely based on recent travel history to China. If there are specific questions or concerns, those individuals should be referred to a medical provider, the Washtenaw County Health Department or UHS.

Currently, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus within the state of Michigan and the risk associated with coronavirus in the U.S. remains low.

UHS is coordinating with Washtenaw County Public Health, Michigan Medicine, the Provost Office, Global Michigan (see U-M Travel Warnings and Restrictions), the International Center, and other university stakeholders regarding response. UHS and Michigan Medicine have implemented additional screening for anyone who has recently travelled internationally.

All travelers from China, including business travelers, people who visited friends and family, and humanitarian workers should take the following steps.

First, watch for any changes in your health for 14 days after leaving China. If you get a fever or develop a cough or difficulty breathing during this 14-day period, avoid contact with others. Call your doctor or healthcare 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, if that is what has made you sick.  Don’t travel while you are sick. 

Students who are unable to attend class due to the coronavirus should contact the Dean of Students office at +1-734-764-7420 or DeanofStudents@umich.edu to discuss their situation and request for an academic notification to be sent to the faculty instructors of all their courses, if warranted.

The academic notification, if approved, will be sent directly to the faculty instructors via the School/College’s regular notification process (usually, email) when a student’s absence from class has been confirmed as unavoidable.

The two categories of students below are eligible for academic notification:

  • Students (Chinese nationals, U.S. citizens, and green card holders) who have recently returned to the United States and are required to self-quarantine or are held in mandatory quarantine based upon CDC and Washtenaw County Public Health guidance.Students in this group should also reach out to their instructors individually to develop a plan for participating in class remotely, if possible, and make arrangements for course assignments to span the quarantine period. Students should provide the specific dates in which they cannot attend class.

Students who do not meet these 2 Coronavirus-related criteria outlined above for academic notification/missing class are expected to attend class.

If unable to work from home, staff with acceptable documentation may use their available paid sick time for the duration of their approved absence due to a recommended or required quarantine. For additional information on sick time benefits, reference the staff handbook or applicable collective bargaining agreement.

Reports of the impact of 2019-nCoV around the world can be troubling, especially for members of the community who are from or have friends and family in affected areas.

Resources and support are available for students through the Dean of Students Office or Counseling and Psychological Services. Faculty and staff can reach out to the Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office at 734-936-8660.  Michigan Medicine Faculty and Staff can access resources through the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience at 734-763-5409.

U-M aspires for a healthy, respectful and welcoming learning environment for U-M community members and endeavors to create an environment in which all members of the campus community welcomed and supported.

If you have additional questions not addressed above, please email public.affairs@umich.edu. 


 

Note: recommendations contained in these past updates may have changed as new information has become available 

 

Jan. 31, 2020 

The U.S. State Department classifies China as a level 4 travel advisory, recommending that individuals avoid all travel to the country.

The entire country remains under a U-M travel restriction. All U-M Related Travel to China, including for faculty and staff, is discouraged. Personal travel to China also is discouraged.

In addition, the Washtenaw County Health Department has reported that results for all three individuals who were being tested for the new coronavirus have come back negative. Currently, there are no confirmed cases in Michigan.

More information here: https://www.washtenaw.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=800.


Jan. 27, 2020 at 6 p.m. 

The CDC recently classified China as a level 3 warning destination, recommending that all individuals avoid nonessential travel to the country.

Because of the CDC action, all travel to China is under a U-M travel restriction. Undergraduate students may not proceed with U-M related travel to China and graduate students may only do so with an university-approved safety plan, which ensures they are aware of the health risks, have developed strategies to stay safe, and are prepared to shelter in place should China impose additional travel restrictions.


Jan. 27, 2020 at 4:40 p.m.

Message shared with the U-M campus community:

Dear faculty, staff and students;

The University of Michigan is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

While there are some confirmed cases in the U.S., no cases have been confirmed in Michigan. Of the four potential cases in southeast Michigan that were recently submitted for testing, three have come back negative for the virus. University officials are monitoring the remaining case closely in partnership with local and state public health experts.

At this time, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general public in the U.S. is considered low. This situation may change quickly as we learn more about how this new virus spreads between people.

As of Jan. 27, the Washtenaw County Health Department does not consider contact with a healthy person who has had recent travel to China or Wuhan a risk for potential exposure.

What are the symptoms of novel coronavirus?
Common signs of 2019-nCoV include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome and kidney failure. For more information, visit the University Health Service Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV website.

What should I do?
If you have not been in Wuhan, China, in the past two weeks, or had close contact with someone in Wuhan who was ill or being evaluated for 2019-nCoV, your risk is currently considered very low.

If you develop a fever and respiratory symptoms within 14 days of travel through Wuhan, China, the CDC recommends that you call ahead to a medical provider and mention your recent travel or close contact. If you are concerned, contact your health care provider or Washtenaw County Health Department. Students and UHS patients may contact University Health Service at 734-764-8320.

Here are everyday actions 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.
  • Get a flu vaccine.

Students and other UHS patients can get a flu shot at UHS – see https://uhs.umich.edu/fluvaccination. Others may contact their health care provider or local pharmacies – see https://www.uofmhealth.org/conditions-treatments/flu-shots.

Travel to/from China?
As a precaution, the entire country is under a U-M travel warning.

Students planning U-M-related travel to China (outside of Hubei province) must submit a safety plan for approval, which ensures they are aware of the health risks, have developed strategies to stay safe and are prepared to shelter in place should China impose additional travel restrictions.

The entire province of Hubei is under a U-M travel restriction. Undergraduate students may not proceed with U-M related travel to Hubei and graduate students may only do so with an approved safety plan.

If you have any upcoming plans to travel to China through U-M programs and have questions, please reach out to the program directly for further information.

Resources
University Health Service
U-M Global Michigan
Washtenaw County Health Department
Centers for Disease Control
U-M Counseling and Psychological Services
U-M Dean of Students Office

We will continue to monitor the outbreak closely in partnership with our local and state public health officials. The most up-to-date information can be found here on the U-M Public Affairs website.

Sincerely,

Preeti Malani, MD
U-M Chief Health Officer
Professor of Medicine

Robert D. Ernst, MD
Associate Vice President of Student Life for Health and Wellness
Executive Director of University Health Service
Clinical Assistant Professor

Lindsey Mortenson, MD
Medical Director
University Health Service


Jan. 24, 2020

2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia 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 U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is closely monitoring developments around the virus.

In response, the university has convened an expert team to monitor the situation. The team includes colleagues from the University Health Service, Washtenaw County Public Health, Michigan Medicine, the Provost’s Office Global Engagement Team and other university stakeholders.

UHS has posted a Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV FAQ here.

The university has been in touch with all travelers registered to be in China or registered for upcoming travel to China. This also includes education abroad units that sponsor programs in China.

Out of precaution, the university has designated a U-M travel warning for China.

Currently, U-M has no travelers registered for travel to Hubei province, which includes the city of Wuhan.

U-M will continue to monitor the situation for developments and will notify U-M travelers of any updates.