Coronavirus Update - Jan 29, 2020

The USF Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases continues to monitor the rapidly developing situation related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak first identified in Wuhan, China.

Dear USF Community,

The USF Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases continues to monitor the rapidly developing situation related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak first identified in Wuhan, China.

There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the San Francisco Bay Area, including here at USF. As of Jan. 29, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are 165 people under investigation for coronavirus infection in the U.S. Five cases have been confirmed, 68 suspected cases tested negative, and 92 cases are pending. The CDC updates these numbers on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

We encourage you to check trusted news sources regularly and learn more from the CDC Coronavirus site to stay apprised of the latest developments. A myUSF resource page with updates has also been established.

Residents of the Bay Area are at low risk of becoming infected with coronavirus unless they have recently traveled to Wuhan or have come in close contact with someone who was ill who recently traveled in that area.  

USF is working closely with the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) and is preparing to respond to the coronavirus situation. SFDPH Departmental Operations Center is prepared to respond as needed, bringing together clinical and operations experts throughout the department.

In a conference call with SFDPH on Jan. 24, SFDPH stated that any individual with a suspected case of coronavirus will be isolated for three to four days pending test results. If it is determined that the individual can be isolated at home, that person will be monitored by SFDPH staff. If this should involve a member of the USF community (student, staff, or faculty), SFDPH will work with USF to arrange for isolation of the individual. Student Housing and Residential Services has identified a number of private rooms with private bathrooms that can be used for this purpose should the need arise. We will also work with Bon Appetit for meal delivery.

In addition, USF International Student and Scholar Services is conducting outreach to support members of our community who could be affected. We have also been in contact with students studying abroad this semester who could be affected. As of today, we are not aware of any USF students or families impacted by the coronavirus. We will continue to monitor this situation closely.

As we approach the peak of the flu season, please take the following simple precautions to minimize the risk of contracting or spreading any respiratory viral illnesses:

  • Get the flu vaccine.
  • 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, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  •  Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay away from classes, group meetings, work, and common areas if you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash, and/or cover your cough with your elbow or sleeve.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

We encourage students, staff, and faculty who are experiencing flu-like symptoms or who are concerned that they may have had close contact with someone who is ill to visit their health care provider without delay. Students can go to the three student health clinics located at St. Mary’s Medical Center, Stonestown, and Oracle Park Care Center.  

The health and safety of our community is of paramount importance. Our goal is to keep our campus healthy and to keep you informed of significant new developments. To this end, the USF Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases is meeting twice a week to stay on top of this evolving situation and stay in direct contact with our community health advisors and county public health units. The committee also is conducting table top exercises for any possible exposure scenarios.

Thank you,

USF Health Promotion Services

Wednesday, Jan 29