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Coronavirus updates for the Emory community

Emory Report | Jan. 24, 2020

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Updated: February 6, 2020 

Emory University is closely monitoring a virus that was first detected in China and has since spread to other countries. There are thousands of cases of the coronavirus worldwide, including 13 cases in the United States. Currently, there are no confirmed illnesses in Georgia.

Emory’s commitment to the health and safety of our community is paramount. A team of representatives from emergency preparedness, health care, campus life and other units is meeting and keeping a close eye on the outbreak to protect students, faculty, staff and visitors. We also continue to work closely with local and state partners.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extensive information about coronaviruses and officials are conducting health screenings for passengers arriving from China at several airports, including Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Updates will be shared as information becomes available. Below are some frequently asked questions about the coronavirus and some tips to keep you healthy during flu season. 

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause several symptoms including fever, coughing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.

The majority of people experience mild symptoms, while others have severe illnesses including reports of the virus leading to death. Patients who are older and have pre-existing medical problems appear to be at the highest risk for complications. 

Can I travel to China?

The U.S. Department of State and the CDC warn against traveling to China and in response, Emory is temporarily suspending all official and previously authorized travel to China for students, faculty, and staff. This restriction includes travel for university-related activities such as teaching, study abroad, conferences, internships, research, recruiting, business meetings, and special events.

Any requests for approval of travel to China must be made through the Executive Travel Safety Committee and submitted to: global@emory.edu.

Is there additional guidance for those who recently traveled to China?

Travelers returning to Emory from mainland China within the past 14 days, and who arrived before Feb. 3, will be asked to contact Student Health Services (404-727-7551) or Office of Occupational Injury Management (404-686-8587) for a risk screening.

During this screening, they will be provided with instructions about how to monitor their health and how to seek medical attention if they become ill. This self-observation includes monitoring for fever, cough or difficulty breathing.

Requesting or implementing self-isolation for asymptomatic travelers, outside of the direct guidance of public health or healthcare professionals is not necessary or required.

All Emory community members and visitors are welcome on campus.

What to do if you think you have coronavirus?

If you have traveled to China within the past 14 days or have been in contact with someone suspected of or confirmed to have the novel coronavirus and are experiencing fever, cough or trouble breathing, please contact your healthcare provider for assessment and further direction.

Emory students should contact Student Health Services, 404-727-7551.

Faculty and staff with recent travel in China may seek guidance from the Office of Occupational Injury Management, 404-686-8587. If after hours or on weekends, please call the OIM Nurse Practitioner on call at 404-686-5500 and enter the ID #50464.

If you are having chest pain, serious difficulty breathing, or another type of medical emergency, please call 911. 

How can I prevent the spread of germs?

Good hygiene, particularly hand hygiene, can reduce the risk of many infections, including this novel coronavirus.

We are still in flu season and the following tips can help keep everyone healthy:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Stay home when you are sick and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces.
  • Get a flu shot. 

What caused this current outbreak?

According to the CDC, this coronavirus originated in December at a large seafood and animal market in Wuhan, China where people come into contact with livestock. Health officials have confirmed that the virus can be transmitted person-to-person. 

What additional resources are available?

Below are links to several resources. Emory will continue to provide updates as more details become available.

Emory also offers support resources that are available to faculty, staff and students who would like help responding to various concerns affecting their well-being:

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides individual, group and couples counseling; stress management classes; and community outreach to provide support for students and assist them in negotiating emotional and interpersonal difficulties as they matriculate through Emory University. 404-727-7450.
  • Student Intervention Services (SIS) assists students in times of crisis. It also offers impartial, judgment-free counsel for students seeking guidance and assistance through life's ongoing challenges. 404-430-1120.
  • Student Health Services (SHS) offers free psychiatric services for all enrolled Emory students. Services include diagnostic psychiatric evaluations, medication evaluations, long-term management of psychiatric medications and community referrals. Learn more information about reaching SHS for after-hours emergencies or call 404-727-7551.
  • Office of Spiritual and Religious Life has offices in Cannon Chapel (Suite 316) and the Alumni Memorial University Center (Suite 125). The office offers worship, prayer, meditation and retreats; support for religious and philosophical communities; educational and spiritual programs; connections with service and social justice efforts; confidential pastoral counseling; and support with planning vigils and other rituals for students, faculty and staff. 404-727-6226; email: religiouslife@emory.edu.
  • Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) provides support for employees, including daytime emergency appointments and on-call after-hours services. Visit the emergency services webpage or call 404-727-9355 (WELL).