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Jan. 29, 2020 Message to campus from Director of Health Services

Communication from Mary McDaniel Anschutz, Director, Health Services

January 29, 2020

Dear ESU Students, Faculty & Staff:

With numerous news stories about the outbreak of a new virus in China that has spread into the United States, we want you to have the most up-to-date information.

Coronavirus Information (as of January 29, 2020)

  • Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is newly identified and causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
  • ESU does not have any students from the affected area of China, nor do we have students scheduled for study abroad experiences in China.
  • The early start to Emporia State’s semester means that any students, faculty and staff who arrived on campus or returned to campus are well past the 14 day incubation period. In other words, if an exposed or infected person started the semester at ESU, the virus would have shown up by now.
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lists in the United States 165 Persons Under Investigation. Of these, five tested positive for 2019-nCOV (Washington State, California, Arizona and Illinois). Another 68 tested negative and 92 tests are pending.
  • Like other respiratory viruses, the 2019 novel coronavirus spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • Symptoms are thought to appear within two to 14 days after exposure and consist of fever, cough, running nose and difficulty breathing.
  • People considered at risk for contracting the virus are those with travel to Wuhan City or those in close contact with someone infected with 2019-nCoV.
  • The CDC recommends the following precautions to prevent the spread of any respiratory virus:
    • 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.
  • The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reports one possible case of novel coronavirus in Douglas County. More information is available online.
  • Frequently asked questions about novel coronavirus are available online.

Influenza Season

Please remember that we remain in the middle of influenza season, itself a respiratory virus with very similar symptoms as the novel coronavirus. The CDC says that flu activity most often peaks in the United States between December and February.

It is not unusual to see people wear disposable masks as a precaution during flu season. We have, in fact, seen confirmed cases of both Influenza A and B on our campus and in the Emporia area.

Influenza typically causes abrupt onset of fever, cough, body aches. If you experience these symptoms, students should seek care at the Student Wellness Center. As usual during flu season, when you arrive for your appointment you will be asked to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer to protect others in the waiting area. Faculty and staff experiencing these symptoms should seek care with their usual healthcare providers.

We will continue to update the campus community if new information becomes available.

Mary McDaniel Anschutz
Director, Health Services
Student Wellness Center