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Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel update: South Korea, Italy — no cases at USC

University officials offer new guidance regarding international travel as the situation continues to evolve.

2019 Novel Coronavirus
An illustration from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals the basic form of the virus blamed for the outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. (Illustration/Alissa Eckert and Dan Higgins, CDC)


Updated at 5:20 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25

To: USC Community

From: Charles F. Zukoski, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; Felicia A. Washington, Senior Vice President for Human Resources; Winston B. Crisp, Vice President for Student Affairs; Anthony Bailey, Vice President for Strategic and Global Initiatives

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Level 3 travel advisory for South Korea, which advises against all non-essential travel. As a result, we are requiring students to leave the country, and we are working actively with them to make arrangements to travel back to USC.

In addition, with the rapidly evolving situation in the Veneto and Lombardy regions of Italy, we are contacting students in those areas to arrange for their travel home. Students who are studying in other parts of Italy are not required to leave, but we are asking them to stay in close contact with their program administrators in case travel restrictions are required in the future.

We want to reiterate that there have been no cases of COVID-19 at USC.

For general questions or comments about COVID-19, please call 213-740-6291 or email studenthealth@usc.edu. You can find all the latest information at our campus emergency website, including frequently asked questions.

Any student who is feeling worried or concerned for family or friends overseas should contact Counseling and Mental Health Services in USC Student Health at 213-740-9355 (WELL). Faculty and staff are encouraged to call the Center for Work and Family Life at 213-821-0800. Campus Support & Intervention is also available for any university member at 213-740-0411. We are all here for you.

Your safety, well-being, and ability to continue your studies and other activities remain the highest priorities for the entire leadership of USC.


Updated 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23

TO: USC Students, Faculty and Staff

FROM:   Charles Zukoski, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs; Felicia Washington, senior vice president for human resources; Winston Crisp, vice president for student affairs; Anthony Bailey, vice president for strategic and global initiatives

DATE: February 23, 2020

SUBJECT: Study abroad and travel updates for COVID-19

We want to provide important new guidance regarding international travel as the situation for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) continues to evolve. There are reports of increasing cases in areas such as South Korea and Japan, and new outbreaks in Italy. With these developments we are closely evaluating university associated international travel to ensure we can best support our faculty, staff and students. There have been no cases at USC.

In order to ensure the continued safety and our close communications with all members of our community who are studying, working and traveling abroad, please see the additional measures below:

For students:

  • If you are studying abroad in an affected area and wish to voluntarily return home from study, please contact your program administrator and our COVID-19 hotline at 213-740-6291. We will support travel needs and discuss academic continuation options in each of your individual cases.
  • Should the travel condition in the area where you are studying reach the CDC Level 3 or U.S. State Department Level 4 travel advisory, which is currently the case in China only, we will require that you leave the area. Our office of Campus Support & Intervention will immediately contact you to facilitate your safe departure and inform you about academic continuity plans.

For faculty and staff:

  • To ensure we are able to immediately contact and support all of our employees who are traveling, you are now required to upload your itineraries for all university-related travel into Concur. For guidance on this process, please follow this link, https://businessservices.usc.edu/travel/(see “Travel Safety” > “Duty of Care”). This system will automatically send you travel alerts and text messages.
  • Any employee seeking travel to a CDC Level 3 or State Department Level 4 country must receive prior written approval from your Dean and the VP for Global Initiatives.

As a reminder, the risk of contracting this illness remains low in the United States. To prevent the spread of many infections please practice good respiratory hygiene including frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home while you are sick.

Any students who are feeling worried or concerned for family or friends overseas should contact Counseling and Mental Health Services in USC Student Health at 213-740-9355 (WELL). Faculty and staff are encouraged to call the Center for Work and Family Life at 213-821-0800. Campus Support & Intervention is also available for any university audience at 213-740-0411. We are all here for you.

For general questions or comments about COVID-19, please call 213-740-6291 or email studenthealth@usc.edu. You can find all the latest information at our campus emergency website, including frequently asked questions.

Your safety, well-being and ability to continue your regular university activities remain the highest priorities for the entire leadership of USC.


Updated 9:18 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 13

To: USC Students
From: Winston Crisp, vice president for student affairs, and Anthony Bailey, vice president for strategic and global initiatives

We are writing to advise the student community on international travel plans in light of the global health concerns over the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The university’s earlier message of Feb. 5 [scroll down to see Feb. 5 message] outlined the U.S. travel restrictions for U.S. citizens and foreign nationals, which is still currently in effect.

As spring break approaches, students are advised to keep in mind the CDC’s Level 3 travel warning to China, and as the Novel Coronavirus situation remains fluid, additional countries may adopt restrictions with very little lead time. CDC country information can be accessed on the CDC website for travelers.

USC students are encouraged to closely evaluate non-essential travel throughout the Asia region during the spring semester. If you are currently making plans for international travel:

  • Consider purchasing travel insurance in case of a disruption to your plans.
  • Consider the possibility that countries you are visiting may decide to implement restrictions while you are outside the U.S., the potential cancellation of flights and the possibility of additional quarantine measures or restricted re-entry into the United States.

USC students who are Chinese nationals are advised to contact the Office of International Services to discuss plans in advance of any international travel at 213-740-2666 or ois@usc.edu. If you are feeling worried or concerned for family back home, we encourage you to contact Counseling and Mental Health Services in USC Student Health at 213)-740-9355. We are here for you.

Residence and dining halls will continue to be fully operational during spring break, and additional activities will be offered to students staying on or near campus during that week. Your safety, well-being, and ability to continue your regular campus activities remain a high priority to the entire leadership of USC.

Visit the USC Student Health website for the latest questions and answers.


Updated 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5


To: USC community
From: Sarah Van Orman, chief health officer for USC Student Health

Federal and local health agencies have expanded precautionary measures to reduce the risk transmission of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the U.S. The university stands ready to support our faculty, staff, and students who are affected by these new entry restrictions:

  • As of 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 2, travelers from China are being evaluated by local public health authorities upon arrival to the U.S. and may be subject to a variety of movement restrictions and monitoring requirements based on their level of risk.
  • USC students affected by these new restrictions should contact USC Campus Support and Intervention at 213-740-0411, or email uscsupport@usc.edu for assistance with any support accommodations, including class accommodation and household contact accommodations.
  • Faculty and staff affected by these new restrictions should contact their department chair/immediate supervisor to make arrangements. Chairs and supervisors will coordinate leave and workplace coverage arrangements with Human Resources.

While these restrictions do not apply retroactively to people who are already in the United States, USC students, faculty and staff who have returned from affected areas should carefully self-monitor for any fever or respiratory symptoms for 14 days (counting day 1 as the departure date from China). If any symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing) appear during this time, students should call USC Student Health immediately, 213-740-9355 (WELL) and make arrangements to be seen by a medical provider. Employees should contact their health care provider.

Health professions: Different requirements may be in place for health profession students and employees; check with the facility you report to for instructions. Keck Medicine of USC has provided these instructions.

All members of the USC community should practice good respiratory hygiene including frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home while you are sick.

As a reminder, no cases of novel coronavirus have affected the USC community and the risk of contracting this illness remains low in California. At this time, there are six confirmed cases in the state, two in southern California and four in northern California. In the confirmed cases of person-to-person transmission in the U.S., the transmission was between spouses.

This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and public health authorities are providing updated information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance. We will continue to share this information and advise our community with current research-based recommendations as they become available.

Through this developing issue, we are a community that supports and respects one another, is guided by research and evidence-based practices, and expresses kindness and compassion for all who are affected by this global event. As an institution of learning, we will work together through these difficult developments to demonstrate our commitment to improving the lives of all in our community and throughout the world.


Updated 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 2

The Q&A on USC Student Health was updated Sunday to including the announcement of a public health emergency by the Secretary of Health and Human Services and subsequent travel restrictions and quarantine procedures.

Visit the USC Student Health website for the latest questions and answers.


Updated 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31

To: USC Faculty and Staff
From: Anthony Bailey, Vice President for Strategic and Global Initiatives
Date: January 31, 2020
Subject: 2019 Novel Coronavirus Travel Advisory

I want to make sure that all employees receive timely and accurate information about the travel advisory regarding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 4 travel advisory for China advising U.S. citizens not to travel to China at this time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has advised against non-essential travel.

When the U.S. State Department raised the travel advisory status to Level 3, we suspended university-related student travel to China.

Now that the United States is at a Level 4 travel advisory, the university is directing faculty and staff to postpone any non-essential, university-related travel to China until these travel warnings are lifted.

We understand there are university faculty and staff who may need to travel for research, patient care, or other essential issues related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. If you plan to travel to China, you should contact me at (213) 740-2852 so the university is aware of your plans.

We may have to put further restrictions in place as the situation evolves.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to remind you of the travel safety information we provide for our community. We have information available about travel safety and policies in several places, including our duty of care program, emergency supportinsuranceand International SOS. Detailed information is available on the Travel & Expense section of the Business Services website. The USC Office of Compliance offers important information on complying with international travel restrictions.

We will continue to update you on the situation on the university’s website.

Key facts about the confirmed cases in California:

Individuals in Orange County and Los Angeles County in southern California — and an individual in Santa Clara County in northern California — have been confirmed as testing positive with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the local county public health departments. The following information is also confirmed:

  • There is no evidence that person-to-person transmission has occurred from these cases.
  • There is no known connection from affected individuals with USC.
  • USC is in regular contact with our local public health officials and will update the community with any new developments.

Updated 8:35 a.m. Friday, Jan. 31 

The U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 4 travel advisory for China advising U.S. citizens not to travel to China at this time. In light of this advisory, and the previously issued CDC Level 3 travel warning (on Jan. 27) to avoid all nonessential travel to China, all USC students will continue to be prohibited from university-sponsored travel to China. The university strongly advises that faculty and staff 1) postpone any nonessential travel to China until these travel warnings are lifted, and 2) contact the Office of Strategic and Global Initiatives at 213-740-2852.

No cases have affected the USC community. All classes and university businesses are continuing as normally scheduled. If anything changes, the campus community would be notified immediately.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported there is no immediate threat to the general public. No special precautions are required, and people should not be excluded from activities based on their race, country of origin or recent travel history.


Updated 8:05 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29 

A new Facebook Live event features Winston Crisp, USC vice president for student affairs, and Sarah Van Orman, chief health officer at USC Student Health. They discuss the ongoing situation and answer questions, stressing that no cases have affected the USC community.


Updated 9:57 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28

To: USC Community

From: Sarah Van Orman, M.D., Chief Health Officer, USC Student Health, and Winston B. Crisp, Vice President for Student Affairs

Date: January 28, 2020

Subject: Update on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus

Dear USC Family,

We are writing today to update you about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. We want to acknowledge that this is an upsetting situation, and our thoughts go out to any members of our community who have family or loved ones affected by this new type of coronavirus.

It is very important for us to share accurate and up-to-date information so you can fully understand the issue and help to dispel many of the rumors that are circulating.

During times like this, inaccurate information – even when well-intended – can spread widely. For example, last night there was a false report about a student being diagnosed with Novel Coronavirus.  Please take the time to read the information provided here. Nothing is as important as your safety.

No cases have affected the USC community. All classes and university businesses are continuing as normally scheduled. If anything changes, the campus community would be notified immediately.

We also want everyone to understand that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported there is no immediate threat to the general public. No special precautions are required, and people should not be excluded from activities based on their race, country of origin or recent travel history.

The university remains in close contact with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. They have the direct contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and would conduct testing and release any reports of confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus. USC officials would be notified immediately, and this information would be shared with the campus communities.

In addition, we have comprehensive emergency management plans in place if a case is confirmed. We already have increased cleaning and sanitizing measures to safeguard against the spread of viruses, including the flu, which currently is widespread in Los Angeles.

There are several ways we can help each other over the coming days. Here are a few steps we all can take:

1. Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing prevents the spread of a virus, as does handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

2. Help us communicate accurate information and quash rumors, especially those circulating on social media. Please respect the privacy of all individuals. We will always provide updates whenever there is development with USC.

3. Treat everyone in the Trojan family with kindness. We have heard from students that they have faced microaggressions and have felt excluded. This goes against our values.

4. Stay home if you are sick with a fever and contact us to see a medical provider at 213-740-9355 (WELL).

5. Reach out if you need support for stress or worry. Special “Let’s Talk” sessions have been added this week at the Office of International Students. You also can reach mental health services at 213-740-9355. If you are concerned about a fellow Trojan who may be feeling ill or who appears to be struggling, please submit your concern via Trojans Care 4 Trojans, and the university will follow up based on the information provided.

Again, we want to emphasize that we are working closely with experts in medical care and public health to implement all recommended preventative measures. By keeping well informed, not spreading rumors or speculating, and by following recommended hygiene measures, we can ensure the health and well-being of our community. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the frequently asked questions on the USC Student Health website.


Updated 1:25 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28

We want to provide information about reports that a student was transported by ambulance from off-campus housing this evening with novel coronavirus.

Because of student and patient privacy laws, we are unable to talk about any specific individuals. However, we can confirm that there are no students or residents from the off-campus Lorenzo Apartments diagnosed or under evaluation for the 2019 novel coronavirus. Students can be transported by ambulance for a variety of health conditions.

Notifications about 2019 novel coronavirus infections occur through local public health authorities and will be communicated to the community.

University officials remain in contact with local public health officials; there is no known connection between affected individuals and USC.


Updated 2:40 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Level 3 Travel Warning for all of China. The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China.

Based on this warning, all students will be prohibited from university-sponsored travel to China. The university recommends that faculty and staff postpone any nonessential travel to China until this travel warning is lifted.


Updated 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26

To: USC Community

From: Sarah Van Orman, Chief Health Officer for USC Student Health

Re: Confirmed California (Los Angeles and Orange County) cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

We are updating the community in light of information that individuals in Los Angeles and Orange County in Southern California have tested positive with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). We are in contact with local public health officials; there is no known connection between the affected individuals and USC.

Engemann Student Health Center.

Engemann Student Health Center (Photo/Chris Shinn)

Local public health officials, under the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will conduct a “contact tracing” measure with the identified patients, and proactively contact any individuals who might have had an exposure. They will work with any individuals who may be affected to check if any symptoms develop.

USC Student Health (part of Keck Medicine of USC) advises persons who recently traveled from Wuhan City or other affected areas in the past 14 days or have had close contact with someone suspected of having an infection with the 2019 novel coronavirus to watch for flu-like symptoms (fever and respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, cough, or difficulty breathing); and if experiencing symptoms, use a face mask and seek immediate medical care. Please call your health care provider in advance. If you are asymptomatic (not experiencing symptoms) you do not have to be seen by a provider.

Students should call USC Student Health for medical care, 213-740-9355 (WELL). Counseling is available at the same number, for students experiencing increased anxiety or stress related to concerns about family in China. Faculty and staff should contact their healthcare provider if they have symptoms, and the Center for Work and Family Life (213-821-8100) for counseling support.

Additional updates will be shared with the community via email and the USC homepage: https://usc.edu.

For general questions or comments: call 213-740-6291 or email studenthealth@usc.edu.

2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Questions from students; answers from USC Student Health

Updated 1/26/2020

For Patients of USC Student Health: 213-740-9355 (WELL)

For general questions or comments: call 213-740-6291 or email studenthealth@usc.edu.

For Continual Updates: https://usc.edu

KEY FACTS ABOUT THE CONFIRMED CASES:

Individuals in Orange County and Los Angeles County, California have been confirmed as testing positive with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the Orange County Health Care Agency and Los Angeles County Public Health. The following information is also confirmed:

  • There is no evidence that person-to-person transmission has occurred from these cases.
  • There is no known connection from affected individuals with USC.
  • USC is in regular contact with our local public health officials and will update the community with any new developments.

Answers to frequently asked questions are below; additional helpful information is available at the CDC FAQ website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html). 

How can I know if I might have been in contact with an affected patient?

Local public officials will conduct a “contact tracing” measure with identified patients and proactively contact any individuals who might have had an exposure. They will work with any individuals who may be affected to monitor if any symptoms develop.

What disinfection measures are effective?

Coronaviruses, including the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, are transmitted through respiratory droplets from an infected person (cough, sneezing, close contact). Standard Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved cleaning products and disinfectants are effective in cleaning surfaces.

The university is taking extended measures to ensure a hygienic environment, including regular cleaning of common areas, and refilling of soap and hand sanitizers.

What should I do to prevent the spread of infection?

Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses are commonly spread by cough, sneezing, or unclean hands. Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing prevents the spread of a virus. Handwashing (with soap and water) for 20 seconds reduces risk of infection. (https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/videos.htmlAvoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Avoid close contact with someone who is sick.

How many cases are there in LA? How fast is it spreading?

Please visit the USC homepage (https://usc.edu) for continual updates on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus as it relates to the USC campus community. We expect to see more confirmed U.S. cases in addition to these first confirmed cases as screenings at airport points of entry in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Atlanta continue to screen passengers traveling from Wuhan, Hubei province in China.

What measures is USC taking to prevent the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

All of us can take measures to protect our community from the spread of illness, primarily through good hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, and reducing contact with others when feeling sick.

If someone who has recently traveled to Wuhan City is on campus, should they be isolated or held in quarantine?

Any recent traveler from Wuhan or other affected area who has symptoms (fever and respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, cough, or difficulty breathing) should contact Student Health (213-740-9355) and make arrangements to be seen by a medical provider right away. The patient should wear a mask to prevent infection of others through respiratory droplets.

Quarantine is not currently recommended for asymptomatic individuals; monitoring their health and face/hand hygiene are the medically recommended practices. Individuals who may have had an exposure or are arriving from affected areas are not required to be quarantined. They are able to continue normal activities while closely monitoring their health.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a statement that it appears this latest case does not threaten public health, cautioning, “people should not be excluded from activities based on their race, country of origin, or recent travel if they do not have symptoms of respiratory illness.”

If there is an infection of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus on campus, will the university isolate the individual?

In the event of a USC student testing positive for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, the patient would receive appropriate medical attention and would be under monitoring of public health officials. Any roommates or suitemates concerned about close contact would be assisted in temporary relocation and any other needed support by the university.

What are the symptoms I should be looking for? Who is most at risk?

Patients with confirmed 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath. 

Many cases appear to be mild. Individuals who are elderly, have weakened immune systems, or have other underlying health conditions appear to be at risk for more severe disease.

I am worried about friends and family in affected areas. What can I do to help?

It’s hard knowing people you care about are in the middle of a very scary situation far away. We know that this has been a difficult time for many members of our Trojan family. Please know we are here for you and encourage you to reach out for support. If you want to meet with a counselor, please call 213-740-9355, or you can join with other international students at a special “Let’s Talk” group in the OIS office, Tuesdays, 1:30-2:30.

You can also help your family back home by letting them know you are taking good care of yourself. The best advice for not getting sick is to practice frequent handwashing and staying out of close contact with people who might be sick. Let them know you are well, and it may comfort and reassure them. As opportunities to assist become available, we will share these with the community.

Does the flu shot prevent the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

No, the flu shot is formulated to match influenza viruses expected to be circulating in the United States during the 2019-2020 flu season (Los Angeles County is currently seeing a rising number of cases, so please get a flu shot if you have not already done so). The influenza virus is a different genetic makeup from the coronavirus. The coronavirus has many genetic variants, including the “common cold” that generally does not present serious adverse health risks.

Will the school be able to distribute face masks to students? What kinds of masks will be able to prevent the infection?

Patients to Keck Medicine of USC ambulatory care settings, including USC Student Health buildings, are welcome to take a mask from the front lobby as they come in for care. If you do not have access to a mask, any face covering—including a tissue, cotton cloth, or scarf—can help reduce the spread of infections by physically keeping droplets from reaching others. A covering also prevents the casual “habit” of touching your mouth and nose with your hands that many people do without being aware of it.

Does wearing a face mask help me if I am NOT sick?

Wearing face masks routinely is not recommended for people who are not sick. Face masks are effective in preventing droplets from a sick person from infecting others and are used by healthcare providers, family members, and others when caring for or in close contact with a sick person. Handwashing and avoiding touching your face, (eyes, nose, and mouth) are the most effective method of illness prevention.

Will the school be able to distribute hand sanitizer to students?

Hand gel is available in dispensers at locations throughout the campuses and all members of the community are encouraged to use them. Remember that hand gel does not replace handwashing with soap and water; handwashing is a more effective way to reduce the spread of infection.

What should I do if I have a fever or have the symptoms of the flu? Do I need to be isolated?

Individuals who have had recent travel within the last 14 days from affected regions and are experiencing symptoms are advised to make an appointment to see a medical provider. Students can call USC Student Health, 213-740-9355 (WELL); let the scheduler know you think you may have the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Faculty and staff should contact their regular health care provider. For other illnesses, stay at home to avoid spreading the virus to others until you have been without a fever for 24 hours.

What can I eat and what can’t I eat?

There are no dietary restrictions related to viral infections.

Where can I get the most updated information regarding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

The most updated current information on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus as it presents in the United States will come from the federal public health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. Any specific local advisories for California or Los Angeles County would be issued by the state and/or county public health agencies and will be shared with the university community by USC Student Health via email and on Twitter.


Updated 9:19 a.m. Jan. 24

The CDC has issued a Level 3 warning, advising avoiding all nonessential travel to Wuhan City, China. Faculty and staff with existing travel plans to Wuhan City are advised to contact the Office of Strategic and Global Initiatives.


Updated 6:44 p.m. Jan. 23

The following information was shared with our campus communities in an effort to inform, educate, and protect our campuses from infectious disease. This update from Dr. Sarah Van Orman at USC Student Health, Keck Medicine of USC, brings our students, faculty and staff up to date on the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus, that has recently received global public health attention. Please note that the infection period for this illness is 14 days, and the origins of the virus is in Wuhan City, China, so travelers from this area within a recent time period are the primary affected population. We will continue to update our communities are any new information develops.


To: USC Community
From: Sarah Van Orman, Chief Health Officer for USC Student Health
Re: Campus Update on Wuhan Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

We want to update the campus community on the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness first identified in Wuhan City in China. National and global public health officials are closely following this developing situation.

At present there are no cases in the campus community. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and work with our local LA County Public Health Department. We will update the community on any new developments.

All members of our campus communities are reminded to take precautions to prevent spread of infectious disease (attached in the following pages). The precautions will help reduce your risk of many respiratory infections including influenza, which is widespread in Los Angeles County. Handwashing hygiene and respiratory hygiene (covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze; avoiding touching your eyes) are proven prevention measures.
USC Student Health, Keck Medicine, advises persons who recently traveled from Wuhan or other affected areas (in the past 14 days) or have had close contact with some suspected of having an infection with the novel coronavirus to watch for flu-like symptoms (fever and respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, cough, or difficulty breathing); and if experiencing symptoms, use a face mask, and seek immediate medical care. If you are asymptomatic (not experiencing symptoms) you do not have to be seen by a provider.

Students should call USC Student Health for medical care, 213-740-9355 (WELL). Faculty and staff should contact their healthcare provider. Be sure to call before seeking care.

Students who are experiencing increased anxiety or stress related to concerns about family in China may see a counselor; call 213-740-9355 (WELL) to arrange an appointment. Students are also encouraged to join the special “Let’s Talk” section for International Students, that is offered in the Office of International Students Royal Street Structure Suite 101, Tuesdays 1:30-2:30 p.m., facilitated by Alice Phang. Faculty and staff can contact the Center for Work and Family for counseling support, (213) 821-0800.

Additional updates will be shared with the community via email and the USC homepage: www.usc.edu.


Wuhan Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
Questions from students; answers from USC Student Health
213-740-9355 (WELL)

What should I do to prevent the spread of infection?

Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses are commonly spread by cough, sneezing, or unclean hands. Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing prevents the spread of a virus. Handwashing (with soap and water) for 20 seconds reduces risk of infection. (https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/videos.html) Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Avoid close contact with someone who is sick.


How many cases are there in LA? How fast is it spreading?

There are currently no reported cases of Wuhan Novel Coronavirus in Los Angeles. There is one reported case in Washington state. We can to expect to see more U.S. cases as screenings at airport points of entry in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Atlanta continue to screen passengers traveling from Wuhan, Hubei province in China.


What measures is USC taking to prevent the spread of the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus?

All of us can take measures to protect our community from the spread of illness, primarily through good hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, and reducing contact with others when feeling sick.


Does the flu shot prevent the Novel Coronavirus?

No, the flu shot is formulated to match influenza viruses expected to be circulating in the United States during the 2019-2020 flu season (which is currently seeing a rising number of cases in Los Angeles County, so please get a flu shot if you have not already done so). The influenza virus is a different genetic makeup from the coronavirus. The coronavirus has many genetic variants, including the “common cold” that generally does not present serious adverse health risks.


Will the school be able to distribute face masks to students? What kinds of masks will be able to prevent the infection?

Patients to Keck Medicine of USC ambulatory care settings, including USC Student Health buildings, are welcome to take a mask from the front lobby as they come in for care. If you do not have access to a mask, any face covering—including a tissue, cotton cloth, or scarf—can help reduce the spread of infections by physically keeping airborne droplets from reaching others. A covering also prevents the casual “habit” of touching your mouth and nose with your hands that many people do without being aware of it.


What should I do if I have a fever or have the symptoms of the flu? Do I need to be isolated?

Individuals who have had recent travel (with the last 14 days) from affected regions and are experiencing symptoms are advised to make an appointment to see a medical provider. Students can call USC Student Health, call 213-740-9355 (WELL); let the scheduler know you think you may have the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus. Faculty and staff should contact their regular health care provider. For illness, stay at home to avoid spreading the virus to others until you have been without a fever for 24 hours.


What can I eat and what can’t I eat?

There are no dietary restrictions related to viral infections.


Where can I get the most updated information regarding the Novel Coronavirus?

The most updated current information on the Novel Coronavirus as it presents in the United States will come from the federal public health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. Any specific local advisories for California or Los Angeles County would be issued by the state and/or county public health agencies and will be shared with the university community by USC Student Health via email and on Twitter.


Will the school be able to distribute hand sanitizer to students?

Hand gel is available in dispensers at locations throughout the campuses and all members of the community are encouraged to use them. Remember that hand gel does not replace handwashing with soap and water; handwashing is a more effective way to reduce the spread of infection.


Published 12:04 p.m. Jan. 23

USC Student Health has distributed the following information regarding the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV):

Key points from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • There is an ongoing outbreak of pneumonia first identified in Wuhan, China, caused by a novel (new) coronavirus.
  • Person-to-person spread is occurring, although it’s unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.
  • Preliminary information suggests that older adults and people with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe disease from this virus.
  • Travelers to Wuhan should avoid contact with sick people, animals (alive or dead) and animal markets.
  • Travelers from Wuhan to the United States, and other countries, may be asked questions about their health and travel history upon arrival.

The situation with regard to 2019-nCoV is still unclear. While severe illness, including illness resulting in four deaths, has been reported in China, other patients have had milder illness and been discharged.

Keep informed on the CDC website.

On campus: what you can do

USC Student Health advises persons who recently traveled from Wuhan (in the past 14 days) or have had close contact with some suspected of having an infection with the novel coronavirus to watch for flu-like symptoms (fever, muscle or body aches, sore throat and cough, fatigue, headaches); and if experiencing symptoms, use a face mask, and call 213-740-9355 (WELL) to come in and see a medical provider. If you are asymptomatic (not experiencing symptoms) you do not have to be seen by a provider.

Students who are experiencing increased anxiety or stress related to concerns about family in China may see a counselor; call 213-740-9355 (WELL) to arrange an appointment. Students are also encouraged to join the special “Let’s Talk” section for International Students, that is offered in the Office of International Students Royal Street Structure Suite 101, Tuesdays 1:30-2:30 p.m., facilitated by Alice Phang. No appointment is necessary, drop-ins are welcome at this section.

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