University of Florida officials release updated guidance on coronavirus

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., Ph.D., Chief Epidemiology Officer, UF Health

RE: Guidance on coronavirus

Dear students, faculty and staff,

With the World Health Organization having declared a global health emergency due to the spread of the novel coronavirus and the U.S. State Department raising its travel advisory to Level 4 warning people not to travel to China, the University of Florida is continuing to closely monitor the situation in conjunction with local and state health officials.

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.

Currently, UF Health has had no cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, China. In addition, none of our patients has met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for testing. Also, as of today, there are no positive cases of the new virus in Florida.

It's important to note there are many strains of coronavirus routinely seen in the U.S. during flu and respiratory viral season, and our physicians treat patients with these infections without alarm. Again, the particular virus that originated in China is not among those we have treated.

Like every other university and hospital in the country, we are taking all appropriate precautions and continuously engaged in important conversations to ensure the health and safety of the university community.

Out of an abundance of caution, the UF International Center has reached out to several UF-affiliated individuals who returned from mainland China during the past two weeks to make them aware of all information and resources pertinent to the novel coronavirus. None traveled to Wuhan, where the coronavirus originated.

As part of its role of providing guidance for students, faculty and staff with travel plans, the International Center also reached out to a number of UF-affiliated individuals who had plans to travel to mainland China during the coming weeks. All have canceled those travel plans.

If you have visitors arriving from China, please refer them to the following websites for information and resources: 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/communication-resources.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/from-china.html

Because the uncertainty surrounding the outbreak can cause stress and anxiety, we encourage students needing support to contact U Matter We Care at umatter.ufl.edu

The university will continue to provide updates as this situation continues to evolve and urges all students, faculty and staff to stay informed about information related to the novel coronavirus:

CDC travel information

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/novel-coronavirus-china

U.S. State Department travel information

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/china-travel-advisory.html

Coronavirus prevention tips

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/about/prevention.html

January 31, 2020