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Central Washington University

Coronavirus FAQs and How You Can Protect Yourself

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

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Dear University Community:
 
I am writing to share strategies for preventing the transmission of all viruses, but the coronavirus (COVID-19) in particular. As you know, the virus has been detected in numerous people in the state of Washington. CWU is collaborating closely with state and local public health agencies to stay on top of best practices for limiting the spread of COVID-19.

Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 appears to occur mainly by respiratory transmission—when someone who is ill coughs or sneezes. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is asking people with virus—colds, flu, COVID 19—to stay home until they’re recovered.

The CDC estimates that symptoms of COVID-19 occur within 2–14 days after exposure. Preliminary data suggest that older adults and people with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems might be at greater risk for severe illness from this virus.

Although deaths from COVID-19 have been vigorously covered in various media channels, the death rate associated with the virus is between 1 and 2 percent. Public Health experts in Washington state assert that the risk to our community of COVID-19 infection is low. Still, there’s every reason to take precautions. The best ways to avoid catching the flu, or COVID-19 or the common cold are to:
•    Avoid contact with others and not to travel while sick;
•    Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing;
•    Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Use soap and water if your hands are really dirty. 

CWU is participating in daily state emergency briefings on COVID-19 and if the severity or risk associated with this virus increases, we’ll act accordingly. However, there are currently no plans to cancel classes due to the low risk to the CWU community.  

If you experience flu-like symptoms stay home from school and work. If you have a fever, don’t go to school or work until at least 24 hours after your fever ends. For faculty, if a student in your class is sick and stays home, please accommodate them while they are away. Student Medical Services does not provide written excuses for students who miss classes or assignments due to a short-term illness or an injury. 

It’s easy to find alarming stories about COVID-19 on social media and other sites. But I hope you’ll ignore the clickbait and instead bookmark the website CWU has developed to keep you informed of the latest information regarding Central at cwu.edu/respiratory-viruses. Additional reliable information about COVID-19 can also be found on the Washington State Department of Health website: doh.wa.gov/emergencies/coronavirus.

Sincerely,


Shawnté Elbert
Associate Dean of Health and Wellness
 

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