January 22, 2020 Novel Coronavirus Update and Campus Response

January 22, 2020

Dear UCB Community -

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) influenza activity is high across much of the United States. So far, influenza B/Victoria viruses have been reported more frequently than other influenza viruses this season, but this may be changing.  It’s not too late to get protected! It is recommended that anyone over the age of 6 months get a flu shot, and especially people with chronic medical conditions are at high-risk for flu-related complications. Please see below for information about flu vaccinations at the Tang Center.

In the news is also the emergence over the last few weeks of the novel 2019 Coronavirus from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.  Several airports in the United States, including SFO, have started screening returning travellers from the area for symptoms, and a first case has been reported in the United States.  The situation is developing rapidly: we are monitoring the situation closely and are working in concert with our public health and UC colleagues to be prepared.  See our health advisory for the latest information.

We anticipate a rise in influenza cases on campus as the students return from Winter Break. To help reduce the burden of influenza on the Berkeley campus, the Tang Center is advising students with flu-like illness to follow CDC recommendations for self-isolation until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever or signs of fever. The Academic Senate and the administration have developed guidelines to help instructors respond to students who become ill. 

Flu symptoms can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscles and body aches, headache, fatigue, sometimes diarrhea and vomiting. Most people who get the flu do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people until you are fever-free. Methods to prevent the spread of influenza, and other viruses:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes!  Into a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands).

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.  Frequently, and certainly before/after touching your face or a sick person.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Clean, disinfect surfaces and objects contaminated with germs.

  • Get a flu vaccine if you have not yet received one this season!   

The Tang Center is providing daily drop-in flu shots for students in our Specialty Clinic on the 1st floor 8:30 am- 11 am and 1 pm- 3:30 pm.  No appointment needed.

UHS will be monitoring national and local developments on influenza and coronavirus closely, and will issue appropriate communications as the situation changes. In the meantime, stay well, protect yourself, and instructors please be flexible in dealing with student absences.

We appreciate your cooperation in maintaining the health of the campus community.

 

Anna Harte MD
Medical Director, UHS