Health Alert: Jan. 27, 2020

To: The Washington and Lee Community
From: Dr. Jane Horton, Director, Student Health & Counseling
Date: Jan. 27, 2020
Re: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This is a health alert regarding a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The 2019-nCoV causes respiratory illness, sometimes severe, such as pneumonia, and has resulted in death in some individuals who are infected. It has since spread outside of China, with a handful of confirmed cases in the U.S. in individuals who have recently traveled to China. The threat to the Washington and Lee University community is considered low at the present time, but that may change over the coming weeks if the virus continues to spread. Since information regarding this disease is changing quickly, we advise you to check the CDC website for the most up-to-date details and guidance.

If you are a student with the following symptoms:

  • Fever and cough with difficulty breathing

AND

  • You have been to Wuhan within the past 14 days OR you have come in contact with an infected individual OR with a person who is under investigation for 2019-nCoV infection while that person was ill,

please contact the Student Health Center (540-458-8401) for advice.

Similarly, if you are a faculty or staff member with these symptoms, and you have traveled to Wuhan or may have come in contact with an infected individual, you should seek medical assistance through your primary care physician.

The best preventative steps for any communicable disease include simple but important measures to practice as part of your daily routine:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water frequently throughout the day.
  • Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, such as utensils, food and drink.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

If you are planning international travel over the next several weeks, you should monitor this situation closely. At present, the CDC recommends deferring travel only to Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The U.S. Department of State has issued a "do not travel" advisory for all of Hubei Province. Other parts of China carry the CDC's lowest level of alert and a recommendation to "practice usual precautions." Chinese visitors coming to the U.S. from Wuhan are now being screened at several U.S. airports, but this process does not currently apply to visitors from other parts of China.

W&L officials will continue to monitor this situation and provide additional information if this advice changes.