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Penn State Officials Monitoring Spread Of Coronavirus

Although there have not been any reported outbreaks of illnesses caused by a new strain of coronavirus, termed “2019-nCoV,” health and safety officials at Penn State are still closely monitoring the situation and taking precautions in preparation for an outbreak.

“Coronavirus symptoms can be very similar to those of the flu, which is very active right now,” said Dr. Robin Oliver-Veronesi, the senior director of University Health Services. “So we urge anyone with flu-like symptoms to contact their health care provider for an evaluation.”  

The virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, and has spread to other countries. To date, there have been five confirmed cases in the United States.

Common signs of the virus range from mild to severe respiratory illness including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. According to the World Health Organization, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and death.

If a Penn State student experiences these symptoms, they can begin the screening process for coronavirus over the phone by calling the UHS Advice Nurse at (814) 863-4463. Penn State also urges faculty and staff to contact their health care providers if they are experiencing respiratory symptoms and have been in Wuhan or nearby areas in China within the last two weeks.

Students who visit University Health Services are asked to wear a mask if they are experiencing respiratory symptoms. In addition, clinicians will ask for a travel history at every visit and pay particular attention to patients who may have traveled to Wuhan or Hubei Province. Masks will be provided to all patients with a fever, cough, sore throat, or swollen glands regardless of travel history. Personal protective equipment, including masks, eye protection, and gloves are being worn by Penn State clinicians as well to protect against any potential exposure.

If there are any suspected cases of coronavirus, they will be tested and reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Health right away.

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About the Author

Jarod Kutz

Jarod Kutz is a junior majoring in public relations and minoring in business. Growing up 45 minutes away in Altoona, he knew Penn State was going to be his destination after high school. You can find Jarod watching his favorite sports teams (Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, or Indianapolis Colts ~ don't ask him how), eating Chipotle, or scrolling through social media. Follow @kutz53 on Twitter or shoot him an email at [email protected]

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