U-M information about novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Jan. 27, 2020 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.

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.


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