COVID-19 Update: Feb. 3, 2020

To: Faculty, Students and Staff

From:

  • Kristi A. Nelson, PhD, Executive Vice President and Provost
  • Andrew Filak, MD, Senior Vice President, Health Affairs, and Dean, College of Medicine
  • Debra Merchant, JD, Vice President, Student Affairs
  • Raj Mehta, PhD, Vice Provost, UC International
  • Kim Miller, MD, Executive Director, University Health Services

Re: Travel Restrictions due to Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

We write to provide an update related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, including new university travel restrictions and reporting recommendations.

While the spread of the virus within the United States is still considered to be low risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) have recently issued new travel guidance regarding China. The CDC currently recommends avoiding non-essential travel to China (Level 3), and the DOS recommends avoiding all travel to China (Level 4).

While there are no confirmed cases of 2019-nCov in the campus community, out of an abundance of caution and care for our community, the University of Cincinnati is enacting restrictions on university-sponsored or university-funded travel, as this aligns with current CDC and DOS guidance. The university is also enacting reporting recommendations to proactively protect the health and well-being of our community.

Details are as follows:

Temporary travel restrictions

In accordance with guidance from the CDC and DOS, UC will temporarily restrict university-sponsored or university-funded travel to China by all faculty, staff and students — effective immediately and in place through at least Friday, March 27, which aligns with current travel bans recently put in place by some airlines.

We will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC and DOS, and will share plans prior to March 27 to either end the restriction on that date or, if needed, extend it. Also, please continue to check the University Health Services web site for updates.

For personal travel, we strongly advise all students, faculty and staff to follow travel alerts from the CDC and DOS. Again, currently, the CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China. The DOS recommends reconsidering travel to China altogether.

COVID-19 Update: Feb. 3, 2020

Reporting Recommendations

For any members of our campus community returning from either university or personal travel to China or for any campus visitors traveling from China, reporting is recommended so that we can offer proper resources, guidance and support to immediately assist any member of our community or visitor who may become ill. This is recommended out of care and concern, public health needs as well as the uncertain nature of potential future events. Geographical areas, regions or cities affected by this reporting recommendation may be modified depending on the future course of the outbreak.

Any and all information gathered through this process will remain confidential. The reporting recommendation will allow University Health Services to provide education, guidance and care monitoring.

We recommend that students, faculty and staff travelers or any visitors traveling from China report to UHSTravel@ucmail.uc.edu under the following circumstances:

  • If you have returned from or traveled from China within the past 14 days, please consider reporting within 24 hours of receiving this email. (If you have returned from China in the past 14 days AND you have a fever above 100.4 orally as well as respiratory symptoms including cough and shortness of breath, please immediately report your symptoms to UHSTravel@ucmail.uc.edu and go directly to the nearest emergency room. UHS will check in with you after the emergency room visit to provide additional guidance and support.)
  • If you or your department know of any upcoming visitors from China, whether on university business or on personal business, we recommend any visitor report via University Health Services within 24 hours of arrival to campus.
  • If any member of the campus community has personal travel to China planned between now and March 27, please consider reporting within 24 hours of your return.
  • If you are being actively monitored or observed by any local, county, state or federal public health agency due to risk of Coronavirus, please report within 24 hours of being notified.

All reports should include name and a cell phone contact number.

Questions about the reporting process can be directed to UHSTravel@ucmail.uc.edu

To reiterate, no changes are needed for day-to-day behaviors on our campuses at this time.

At this time, state and federal health officials are not restricting activities for travelers returning from China without symptoms — nor are they recommending testing for those without symptoms.

We continue to closely monitor the guidelines and recommendations from local, state and federal agencies. University Health Services works closely with and maintains coordination with city, county and state departments of health. UHS is able to screen for symptoms and follow all public health protocols should anyone with potential Coronavirus need care.

Students in need of immediate medical care for any reason should contact University Health Services at 513-556-2564.Any faculty and staff who believe they may have or been exposed to Coronavirus should also contact University Health Services.

As always, the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, patients and visitors is our top priority. We will continue to keep our community informed — and we encourage everyone to practice routine hygiene etiquette as this is the best way to prevent the spread of infection.

For more information, visit the University Health Services web page or see this recent campus news release.