January 24: Guidance on COVID-19

TO: UF students, faculty and staff

FROM: Dr. Ronald L. Berry, M.D., Interim Director, UF Student Health Care Center; Dr. Nicole Iovine, M.D., Chief Epidemiology Officer, UF Health

RE: Guidance on coronavirus

University of Florida officials are closely monitoring updates related to a novel coronavirus as a second confirmed case has been reported in the U.S. connected to an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

The second U.S. case was confirmed today in Chicago. No cases have been reported at UF or elsewhere in Alachua County. The university is coordinating with UF Student Health, UF Health, the Alachua County Health Department, UF Emergency Management and the UF International Center for local planning regarding the novel coronavirus using up-to-date guidance from state and federal health officials.

The CDC considers this new virus a public health concern based on current information. However, the immediate health risk to the general U.S. public is considered low at this time. The CDC and the World Health Organization are closely monitoring the situation and providing ongoing guidance. The CDC escalated its health warning to a level 3 as the coronavirus continues to spread, recommending that people avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan, China. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/novel-coronavirus-china

What you can do

If you are concerned that you may have novel coronavirus, see your health care provider immediately.

Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Person-to-person spread is occurring, although it’s unclear exactly how it is transmitted and how easily the virus spreads between people.

Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for the coronavirus. There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • 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.

Travel Information

Travelers should stay informed on CDC updates and travel notifications at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-wuhan-china.

The State Department has issued a Watch Level 3 Alert for travel to China following an ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus. As the virus continues to spread, officials recommend that people avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan, China. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/china-travel-advisory.html

If you have essential, UF-related travel planned to China, please follow this guidance:

  • Prior to travel, schedule an appointment with the dean of the UF International Center, Dr. Leonardo Villalón at (352) 273-1536.
  • 31: The U.S. State Department updated its travel advisory to Level 4, warning people not to travel to China. The university announced today that it will not approve university travel to China for employees and will not reimburse for any university travel to China that commences after today. In addition, the UF International Center will no longer approve travel to China for students until further notice.
  • 27: The State Department issued a Watch Level 3 Alert for travel to China following an ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus. As the virus continues to spread, officials recommend that people avoid all nonessential travel to Wuhan, China.

Students may call the Student Health Care Center Travel Clinic at 352-392-1611 or the Health Science Center branch at 352-294-5700. More information can be found at https://shcc.ufl.edu/services/specialty-care/travel-counseling-vaccinations/.

If needed, adjustments may be made to UF-sponsored programs in impacted areas.

Helpful Resources

For more information about the coronavirus, prevention, symptoms, etc., please visit www.cdc.gov as a helpful resource.

Prevention Tips


Coronavirus - Travelers Health Information


Travel to China

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Homeland Security, have updated the travel alerts and instructions for travelers returning to the U.S. from China.