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Coronavirus: What you should know

Information regarding the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) continues to evolve. We are writing today to keep you informed of the latest from the University of California, public health officials, governmental entities and others.
 
There have been no reported cases of coronavirus in Merced. UC Merced has established a working group in collaboration with the Merced County Department of Public Health and Office of Emergency Services, as well as other health authorities, to share information, take preventative steps and keep our campus community safe.
 
Regarding travel, the State Department has issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory (do not travel) for China, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that travelers avoid all non-essential travel to China. University of California President Janet Napolitano has issued a directive that UC limit non-essential travel to China. If you have scheduled travel to China that you believe is essential to university business, please contact Risk Services Manager Cindi Zimmerman, czimmerman3@ucmerced.edu , for guidance.
 
We will update the campus community as relevant information becomes available. Please check the Health Services and Emergency Management websites for updates as well.

FAQ

What is the Coronavirus?

The 2019 Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) comes from a large family of viruses that are a common cause of mild upper respiratory infections, but also include both SARS and MERS, which can cause more serious disease. Most patients with coronavirus have mild symptoms, however this new virus has resulted in cases of severe illnesses and deaths reported in China.

To learn more about the coronavirus, the CDC website is a reliable source of updated information:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

We will update the campus community as relevant information becomes available. Please check the Health Services and Emergency Management websites for updates as well.

How will I know if things change/there are any cases at UC Merced?

How will I know if things change/there are any cases at UC Merced?

The UC Merced Emergency Management office will notify the UC Merced campus of any changes. You can always find information on the Emergency Management site.

What should I do if I think I have the Coronavirus?

If you have a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough, difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath:

  • Stay home from school/work if you are having symptoms
  • Wash your hands and stay well hydrated/drinking fluids
  • Cover your cough, and avoid close contact with others
  • Call your healthcare provider to make an appointment

If you have traveled to Wuhan, China, or have been in close contact with someone who has recently traveled to Wuhan, China, within 14 days before the onset of your symptoms, please notify your provider/clinic BEFORE entering their office. It is important to call so that your provider/clinic can be prepared for your visit.

UC Merced Students should call Student Health Center at 209-228-2273.

UC Merced Faculty and Staff should call their healthcare provider immediately for care.

 

What is being done to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus?

To reduce further spread of the infection, the State Department has implemented a travel warning level 4 (do not travel) to China, and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is recommending that travelers avoid all non-essential travel to China.. Airports in the U.S. (including LAX and SFO), are now screening entering travelers from certain areas for symptoms of respiratory infection.

Locally, this is an evolving situation. The campus and student health center are in coordination with Merced County Department of Public Health, Office of Emergency Services and the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) to provide ongoing clinical guidance. Please check the above-mentioned websites often for the most up-to-date information.

 

Do face masks protect against Coronavirus?

For now, public health officials say there’s no need to wear face masks in the United States; however, there is likely no harm in adding this additional layer of prevention, especially for people who think they may be sick.

 

Does the flu shot protect me from Coronavirus?

No, however we strongly recommend campus community members get a flu shot to prevent contracting influenza which is easily spread.

 

How is Coronavirus contracted?

This is still be worked on by the scientific community. However, here is what the Center for Disease Control says: “The virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious while others are less so. It’s not clear yet how easily 2019-nCoV spreads from person-to-person.“

 

What can I do to help keep from getting the Coronavirus or other infections?
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work, or school
  • Practice healthy habits: get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food
  • If you have not received your annual flu shot, please contact the Student Health Center or your medical provider.

 

Have there been any positive (2019-nCoV) Coronavirus cases on the UC Merced campus?

No, we are informed there are currently no positive Coronavirus cases on the UC Merced. Detailed information of confirmed cases in the U.S. can be found on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website as such information becomes available.

 

Is there a vaccine for Coronavirus and can I be tested for Coronavirus if I feel unwell?

There is currently no vaccine for Coronavirus (2019-nCoV); however, the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) are working around the clock to develop one.

The only current testing for the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is done at the CDC Laboratories in Atlanta, Georgia. At this point, testing is only performed for patients who meet all of the clinical and travel criteria.

 

Can I travel to China for University Business?

Faculty, staff and students should be aware that the U.S. Department of State issued its highest advisory level 4 alerting a “do not travel to China due to the novel coronavirus” on Jan. 31, 2020.

University of California President Napolitano directed the UC community to temporarily “avoid all non-essential travel” to China on Jan. 30, 2020.

University of California restrictions do not apply to travel that is solely personal-related, but such travelers should be aware of travel risks and of federal government warnings on any type of travel to/from China.

Approval Process Prior to Travel

All non-essential travel to China is restricted until further notice. All travelers who would like to engage in essential travel to China (defined in the following categories) must obtain prior approval as follows:

Faculty: Faculty essential travel is defined as that which is required to:

  • preserve the safety of a research subject and which is not possible to be postponed; or
  • preserve the results of a research activity and which is not possible to be postponed.

Attendance at educational conferences is considered non-essential travel.

Faculty requests for exemptions for travel to China for research purposes must be submitted to the campus Risk Manager, Cindi Zimmerman. Requests will be reviewed and recommendations will go to Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost for a final decision.

Staff: Staff travel is considered non-essential. Staff requests for exemptions for travel to China must be submitted to the campus Risk Manager, Cindi Zimmerman. Requests will be reviewed and recommendations will go to the Chancellor or Chancellor’s Designee for a final decision.

 

Students and Trainees: Student and trainee essential travel is defined as that which is necessary to meet a graduation requirement and which is not possible to be postponed. Student and trainee requests for travel to China must be submitted to the campus Risk Manager, Cindi Zimmerman. Requests will be reviewed and recommendations will go to the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost for a final decision.