UF releases guidance on coronavirus

2/11 update

To: UF Students

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: Coronavirus quarantine guidance

As the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) continues to evolve, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, and the Department of Homeland Security have updated the travel alerts and instructions for travelers returning to the U.S. from China.

  • Travelers from Hubei Province are subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine to ensure they are provided proper medical care and health screenings.
  • Travelers from other parts of mainland China are subject to up to 14 days of self-quarantine with health monitoring to ensure they have not contracted the virus and do not pose a public health risk.

As a precaution, any UF student who is subject to the mandatory or self-quarantine as defined above will be required to be quarantined for up to 14 days and must follow the processes below upon returning from China and/or before returning to the UF/UF Health campus:

  • If you are returning from China or have been in contact with someone from China and are symptomatic (fever, cough, shortness of breath) at any point during the 14-day quarantine period:
    • Contact UF Health Shands Infection Control immediately at 352-682-3743.
    • Infection Control will contact the UF Health Shands Hospital epidemiologist, who will discuss the appropriate next steps with you.
    • If you believe you require immediate medical attention, whether at the E.R. or your medical provider’s office, inform the medical staff in advance that you have recently returned from China. If you are in need of an ambulance, inform the 911 operator that you have recently returned from China.
    • Before returning to class after your 14-day quarantine, contact the UF Student Health Care Center at 352-294-5700 to schedule an appointment to be cleared to return to class.
  • If you are returning from China and are not symptomatic:
    • UF Students who live off campus:
      • You must self-quarantine in your off-campus residence.
      • If during the self-quarantine at home you develop symptoms refer to above section for symptomatic people.
      • Before returning to class after your 14-day quarantine, contact the UF Student Health Care Center at 352-392-1161 to schedule an appointment to be cleared to return to class.
      • If you have any questions contact the UF Student Health Care Center Special Clinics nurse at 352-294-7472.
    • UF Students who live on campus or in sorority or fraternity houses:
      • If you live in a self-contained village apartment (with an apartment bathroom and kitchen) then you must self-quarantine in your apartment.
      • If you live in traditional housing with shared facilities, you will be relocated to a self-contained apartment during the self-quarantine period.
      • If during the self-quarantine you develop symptoms refer to above section for symptomatic people.
      • Before returning to class after your 14-day quarantine, contact the UF Student Health Care Center at 352-392-1161 to schedule an appointment to be cleared to return to class.
      • If you have any questions, contact the UF Student Health Care Center Special Clinics nurse at 352-294-7472.

Any student who is required to quarantine or self-quarantine is encouraged to reach out to their faculty members regarding any class work missed during the quarantine period.

Our faculty will work with you to be sure there is no penalty to missing class due to illness.

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

2-10 update

Guidance for UF Health Shands, UF Health Jacksonville and UF faculty, staff and volunteers traveling from China

As the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) continues to evolve, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, and the Department of Homeland Security have updated the travel alerts and instructions for travelers returning to the U.S. from China.

  • Travelers from Hubei Province are subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine to ensure they are provided proper medical care and health screenings.
  • Travelers from other parts of mainland China are subject to up to 14 days of self-quarantine with health monitoring to ensure they have not contracted the virus and do not pose a public health risk.

As a precaution, any UF or UF Health faculty, staff or volunteers who are subject to the mandatory or self-quarantine as defined above will be required to be quarantined for up to 14 days and must follow the processes below upon returning from China and/or before returning to the UF/UF Health campus:

UF Health Shands staff and volunteers

  • If you are returning from China and are symptomatic (fever, cough, shortness of breath) at any point during the 14-day quarantine period:
    • Contact UF Health Shands Infection Control immediately at 352-682-3743.
    • Infection Control will contact the UF Health Shands Hospital epidemiologist, who will discuss the appropriate next steps with you.
    • If you believe you require immediate medical attention, whether at the E.R. or your medical provider’s office, inform the medical staff in advance that you have recently returned from China. If you are in need of an ambulance, inform the 911 operator that you have recently returned from China.
    • Before returning to work after your 14-day quarantine, contact UF Health Shands Occupational Health Services at 352-265-0250 to schedule an appointment to be cleared to return to work.

  • If you are returning from China and are nonsymptomatic:
    • Before returning to work after your 14-day quarantine, contact UF Health Shands Occupational Health Services at 352-265-0250 to schedule an appointment to be cleared to return to work.
    • Contact UF Health Shands Infection Control at 352-682-3743 if you have any questions.

Please note: UF Health Shands employees who are either under mandatory quarantine or those who have arrived from China in the past 14 days and are asked to self-quarantine at home must use PTO or unpaid leave for the time away from work. Unless seeking medical care, employees are prohibited from coming on campus or to any UF-affiliated facility during the quarantine period. If you are seeking medical care, please contact the health care provider before you arrive to ensure proper precautions can be taken.

For questions or assistance with use of paid leave, the employee should call his or her manager. For assistance with Occupational Health clearance, please call 352-265-0250. If you need access to additional resources during this time, please call the UF Health Shands Employee Assistance Program at 352-265-5493.

UF faculty and staff (clinical and non-clinical)

  • If you are returning from China and are symptomatic (fever, cough, shortness of breath) at any point during the 14-day quarantine period:
    • Contact UF Health Shands Infection Control immediately at 352-682-3743.
    • Infection Control will contact the UF Health Shands Hospital epidemiologist, who will discuss the appropriate next steps with you.
    • If you believe you require immediate medical attention, whether at the E.R. or your medical provider’s office, inform the medical staff in advance that you have recently returned from China. If you are in need of an ambulance, inform the 911 operator that you have recently returned from China.
    • Before returning to work after your 14-day quarantine, contact the UF Student Health Care Center at 352-294-5700 to schedule an appointment to be cleared to return to work.
  • If you are returning from China and are nonsymptomatic:
    • Before returning to work after your 14-day quarantine, contact the UF Student Health Care Center at 352-294-5700 to schedule an appointment to be cleared to return to work.
    • Contact UF Health Shands Infection Control at 352-682-3743 if you have any questions.

Please note: Administrative leave will be made available to eligible employees who are either under mandatory quarantine or those who have arrived from China in the past 14 days and are asked to self-quarantine at home. Unless seeking medical care, employees are prohibited from coming on campus or to any UF-affiliated facility during the quarantine period. If you are seeking medical care, please contact the health care provider before you arrive to ensure proper precautions can be taken.

To qualify for administrative leave, confirmation from the Department of Health of either status (mandatory or self-quarantine due to recent travel from China) will be required. Employees also will be required to obtain clearance from the UF Student Health Care Center to return to work.

In the event a UF employee is diagnosed with the 2019 novel coronavirus, the employee will be eligible to use personally accrued sick leave. For questions or assistance with use of paid leave or for assistance with clearance to return to work, please contact Employee Relations at 352-392-1072.   

If you need access to additional resources during this time, please contact the UF Employee Assistance Program.

1/31 update

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

1/24 update

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.

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

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

Coronavirus - Travelers Health Information

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