2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Infectious disease experts around the world are learning new information every day about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that emerged in Wuhan, China, late last year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to track the outbreak and advise global public health experts on how to help contain the spread of the illness.
What is novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and how is it spread?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are best known for causing the common cold. They are also responsible for more serious respiratory illnesses such as SARS and MERS.
The virus is believed to be spread between people mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory illnesses spread. These drops can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or inhaled into the lungs.
Dispelling some myths about coronavirus
There is no evidence that the coronavirus can be transmitted through products shipped from China or any other country. Viruses do not tend to live on surfaces for very long, at most a few hours. Coronavirus germs can be eliminated by using common disinfectants.
This is a rapidly changing situation. U-M officials and medical experts, in close coordination with the state and local public health experts, are closely monitoring for developments and will offer additional guidance to the university community as soon as it is available.
Watch for symptoms
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention
Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Wear a cloth face covering that covers your nose and mouth in public settings.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- 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 using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- 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.
- 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.
There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.
People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
University of Michigan-Dearborn campus members who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 (defined as a Viral PCR test), will be included in a Contact Tracing Protocol to assist in identifying individuals who may have been in close proximity to the positive case and have an elevated risk of contracting the illness. This protocol will be conducted in accordance with the State of Michigan Public Health Code and federal guidelines in an effort to reduce transmission of the virus across the campus.
Contact tracing is a public health tool that has been used for decades to identify people who have come in contact with an ill individual in an attempt to reduce the spread of the disease. It will be used at the University of Michigan-Dearborn to:
- Interrupt ongoing COVID-19 transmission and reduce the spread of infection
- Alert contacts of the potential exposure
- Closely monitor them for symptoms, provide testing and potentially quarantine away from the workplace
- Study the epidemiology of the virus, identify localized outbreaks and ultimately control the spread of illness across campus.
Medical confidentiality and privacy will be maintained. Contacts will only be told they have been exposed to a positive case, but the identity of that case will NOT be revealed. Sensitivity to individual situations will be maintained.
The Office of Emergency Management will learn about positive cases in campus community members through the collaborative efforts of the U-M Enterprise, local county health departments as well as employee, supervisor or student disclosure.
Employees experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should be directed to contact the Occupational Health Services (OHS) COVID Hotline at 734-764-8021 (Option 1) for a screening interview by trained medical staff, and if indicated based on employee responses, be sent for a COVID-19 testing appointment at a designated location.
- If testing results in a positive case then that information is provided to the employee, with proper follow-up instructions.
- The employee should then contact their supervisor with this information, as they should NOT return to their workplace.
- This information is also forwarded to the employee’s local county health department. The local county health departments are responsible (by law) to interview the positive case for close household contact tracing.
Symptomatic employees who have been tested and diagnosed at a location other than the OHS clinic, should report their diagnosis to their supervisor and NOT return to their workplace until medically cleared to do so.
All positive employee COVID-19 cases will then be contacted and confidentially interviewed (if medically able) by trained Office of Emergency Management (OEM) staff to identify potential coworker exposures based on work locations, work schedule, job tasks, symptom onset date and other factors as necessary. This information is imperative and known as Contact Tracing. Coworkers exposed to SARS-CoV-2 will be instructed how to prevent further spread of illness.