The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a newly identified respiratory virus that can cause mild to severe respiratory illness. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak of unusual pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. The outbreak has since spread to other international locations, including the United States. The latest situation summary and updates are available on CDC’s website.
For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low; however, in the event of a suspected or confirmed case related to campus, Health Services has procedures in place to screen for potential cases and act quickly.
Like other respiratory illnesses, symptoms of the Coronavirus may include fever, muscle or body aches, sore throat and cough, fatigue, headaches and difficulty breathing.
If you are sick with a respiratory illness, keep from spreading it to others:
- 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.
- Do not share food, drinks, vaping devices or anything that can spread the virus to others.
- If you have traveled outside of Arkansas within the past 14 days or have been around anyone diagnosed with coronavirus and are experiencing these symptoms, contact your health care provider before entering the facility.
There is no specific treatment for 2019-noCoV other than supportive care for symptoms.
Although a very serious public health threat, the CDC believes the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general U.S. public is considered low. There is currently no vaccine to protect against 2019-nCoV. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
Public health officials recommend everyone follow basic prevention guidelines to avoid spreading and contracting respiratory illnesses:
- Try to get sufficient sleep, exercise regularly, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.
- Keep your hands clean and wash them frequently with soap and water. Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer and use it when you cannot wash your hands.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve. When you use a tissue, throw it in the trash immediately. Do not use a handkerchief.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Do not share cups, straws, or anything else you put in your mouth (especially vaping devices).
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Disinfect surfaces that can be contaminated such as desks, phones, doorknobs, keyboards, etc.
There is still more to be learned
COVID-19 is an emerging disease and there is more to learn about its transmissibility, severity, and other features and what will happen in the United States. New information will further inform the risk assessment.