The health of the Cougar community is our priority. We want to provide accurate resources for current information and preventative tips to help minimize the spread of illness. Updates that are specific to the WSU community will be provided on the Cougar Health Services website.
We are working with Whitman County Public Health and other University leadership to monitor an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed the first cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the U.S. Current information about the coronavirus is provided by the CDC.
What is this novel coronavirus (2019‑nCoV)?
2019‑nCoV is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Since then, the virus has been identified in multiple other countries, including cases in the U.S.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:
- It is newly identified, so much is still unknown about it.
- Two other human coronaviruses, MERS‑CoV and SARS‑CoV, have caused severe illness.
What is the risk?
The CDC considers this new virus a serious public health threat. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak an international public health emergency.
That said, the CDC considers the immediate health risk from 2019‑nCoV to the general American public to be low at this time. There are no confirmed cases among WSU community members.
As of January 31, 2020, there are only six confirmed cases in the United States, one of which is in Snohomish County and is unrelated to WSU.
Information about the symptoms, transmission and treatment for 2019‑nCoV is available on the CDC webpage.
Can you travel to or from China?
The CDC has issued a level 3 warning for travel to China and recommends avoiding all non‑essential travel to China. The U.S. Department of State updated its China Travel Advisory on January 30, 2020, to “Do Not Travel” to China.
Accordingly, we ask that members of the WSU community not travel to China, until such time as the CDC and Department of State downgrade their travel advisories.
If you must travel to China:
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to Wuhan with their health care provider.
In addition, if you must travel to China, register your travel through WSU’s international travel insurance. By registering your travel, emergency assistance is more readily available and you will have access to specific risk information about your destination(s).
What are the best prevention measures?
There is no vaccine to prevent this virus. The CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
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.
Where is WSU posting information about the 2019‑nCoV outbreak?
Updates and additional information are available on the Cougar Health Services website.
If you have questions about travel to or from China, please contact Global Services in International Programs: firstname.lastname@example.org; 509‑335‑4508.
If you have personal medical questions, please contact your medical provider.
AS A REMINDER, WE ARE STILL IN AN ACTIVE FLU SEASON:
The flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu. For students, Cougar Health Services still has flu vaccines available. Schedule an appointment for a flu shot by calling 509-335-3575.
For more information about the Coronavirus, international travel safety, the seasonal flu, and ways to stay healthy, please visit the following links: