About the Coronavirus

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Updated:3 March @ 11:03AM

UCF is joining the Florida Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in monitoring the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and we will provide updated information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance.

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to rapidly evolve, with two presumptive positive cases being confirmed in Florida.

The Florida Department of Health is monitoring these individuals, who remain in isolation. It is likely that additional cases in the state will be announced in coming days.

UCF is continuing communication, coordination and planning using updated guidance from our state and federal health partners.

We launched a new website, https://ucf.edu/coronavirus, which will be regularly updated with the latest information. UCF will continue to monitor COVID-19 and share updates. Remember, the most important thing you can do right now is take precautions and prioritize your personal safety. The most biggest precaution you can take is being mindful your personal health by avoiding contact with germs.


What is the Coronavirus?

The novel (new) coronavirus – a betacoronavirus named “SARS-CoV-2” – has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers this is a very serious public health threat, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low for the general American public. The virus is NOT currently spreading widely in the United States, and exposure to the virus is unlikely at this time. However, this is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment will be updated as needed.

For the latest information about the outbreak, see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

What areas are currently affected?

The novel coronavirus was first detected in China and has now been detected in 60 locations internationally, including the United States. There are ongoing investigations to learn more.

For more information on affected areas: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/locations-confirmed-cases.html#map

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

COVID-19 symptoms are generally flu-like and include fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing. Symptoms are thought to appear within two to 14 days after exposure, and a person can be contagious but not symptomatic.

For confirmed cases of COVID-19, reported conditions have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness.

How is the Coronavirus transmitted?

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person (between people who are in close contact with one another) via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms. It may also be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. However, these are not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Person-to-person spread in the United States has been detected (Media Release). However, this virus is NOT currently spreading widely in the United States.

How is the Coronavirus treated?

People who think they may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV should contact a healthcare provider immediately.

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

How is the Coronavirus prevented?

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection.

While the immediate risk to the American public continues to be low at this time, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. Everyone can take these simple steps to prevent the spread of germs:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. More information about proper hand washing is available here: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/index.html.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid shaking hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and avoid others if you are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick – do not risk your health or the well-being of others by trying to “tough it out.”
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow. Dispose of tissues immediately.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Avoid grasping shared surfaces such as door handles, gas pumps, grocery carts, elevator buttons, etc. with your hands. Use your knuckles or hips or a paper towel or disposable glove.
  • Specific guidance for travelers: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/novel-coronavirus-china

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.

Flu vaccines are highly recommended, as it is flu season. Flu shots are available for free to students at Student Health Services, and employees can also receive the shot there for a cost.

Hand sanitizer stations are available across campus, and UCF is adding more to high-traffic areas on campus to encourage use during flu season.

Travel Guidelines

In keeping with federal guidance regarding avoiding nonessential travel, UCF Global has added China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Mongolia, Italy and Japan to its restricted destinations list. All study abroad programs to these countries have been canceled.

Any students who return from travel to China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea are required to self-quarantine and not return to campus for 14 days after their return, the period in which they could be contagious and pose a threat to others.

UCF Global is closely monitoring developments in the area and should be notified of all university-related travel. Updates and more information about travel registration is available here:  https://global.ucf.edu/international-health-and-safety/restricted-travel/

With Spring Break approaching, UCF encourages travelers to be mindful of COVID-19’s potential impact on their plans. Destinations with large, confined groups of people pose a higher risk of transmission. Travelers should proceed with caution, thoroughly research their destination, and consult with their doctors and UCF regarding any concerns.

Travel updates from the CDC are available here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

UCF Resources

The most up-to-date information is available at https://ucf.edu/safety/coronavirus.

At UCF, anyone with additional questions may call UCF Student Health Services at 407-823-2509. The UCF Police Department, which is staffed 24/7, also is available by calling 407-823-5555.

Students experiencing distress related to the outbreak can reach Counseling and Psychological Services 24/7 by calling 407-823-2811.

Frequently asked questions UCF employees may have are answered here: https://hr.ucf.edu/files/HR-FAQ-Coronavirus-2March20.pdf.