Health Advisory: Coronavirus Update 1/23/2020

Update 1/23/2020

Situation Update

Currently over 500 cases have been confirmed with at least 17 deaths -- the latter all in China.  More cases are being identified as being due to person-person spread. Several cities in China have (in excess of WHO recommendations) instituted lockdown of transport within and out of their cities.  Screening has been expanded at US airports but no cases have been identified thus far via these measures. 2019-nCoV, as it is known, has not at this time been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization, but they are re-evaluating daily.  However, the CDC has updated its Travel Guidance to recommend people avoid non-essential travel to Wuhan, China. Local public health departments have activated their medical emergency operations centers and are holding regular updates.

UHS Activities

UHS is actively screening all students who enter the building for recent travel and fever or respiratory symptoms, and masking and assessing anyone with both criteria quickly in a private room. The CDC definition that triggers isolation and testing for 2019-nCoV remains quite strict:

  • travel to Wuhan within 14 days AND fever AND lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, chest pain)

  • recent contact with a Coronavirus case AND fever OR lower respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, chest pain)

Recent travel with cold symptoms should NOT trigger significant concern, initiate usual self-care and stay home when you are ill to prevent spread to others.  Symptoms that seem to be worse including cough and fever are more likely to represent flu than Coronavirus, but anyone with those symptoms who has travelled to Wuhan within the past 2 weeks or has severe symptoms should call the UHS Advice Line at (510) 643-7197 to see if they need to come in.

Campus Guidance: Preventive Measures

We have received several inquiries regarding cancelling campus events or quarantining recent arrivals from China.  We are considering these seriously, however at this time we feel that the likelihood of person-person transmission of this virus within the UCB community is low.  There are no confirmed local cases thus far and the transmissibility of the virus remains unclear; we will reassess if this change. In the meantime, we are working with our housing and other campus colleagues to reinforce the messaging that ANY student with respiratory symptoms should practice good self-care and hygiene to avoid transmitting infections to others, as described below  Recent travellers should always be on extra alert.

Our thoughts are with the campus community members who have family and friends in the most heavily affected areas; while the health impact of the virus itself has so far been quite minimal, the measures taken to contain it are challenging to those caught in the middle.