Coronavirus: No cases on campus, officials closely monitoring situation

The following letter was sent to the campus community Jan. 27 from the CSU Health Network and Public Safety Team.

Students, faculty and staff,

We know many of you are following news stories about the coronavirus outbreak. We want to reassure you that there are no known cases of the virus associated with our university community, and we are closely monitoring for the virus.

Administration Building

Our CSU Health Network health care staff and others across campus have put health protocols in place to screen for cases. Health care providers here in Fort Collins and Larimer County, as well as across Colorado, also have implemented the proper protocols to monitor for cases and are in contact with each other daily through the county and state departments of public health.

We wanted to share with you some information so that you’re aware of what the university is doing, and also have accurate information about the virus and its current impacts.

About coronavirus

Coronarviruses are a group or family of viruses that are actually very common and have been around – and infecting humans – for a long time. Most people will get a mild “common cold” from this family of viruses at some time in their lives – a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat and fever. Sometimes, this is a virus that also causes pneumonia or bronchitis. These viruses spread from person to person just like other “common cold” viruses: through close contact, uncovered coughs and sneezes, and if the virus is on a surface and a person touches the surface and then touches their eyes or mouth.

The current outbreak that is being covered in the news is due to a newer virus strain in the coronavirus family of viruses. This newer strain – called a “novel” strain – is causing a range of severity of illness in people, from mild infections to severe and sometimes fatal infections that cause pneumonia. The first cases of this virus were found in one region in China in December. The first United States case was confirmed on Jan. 21.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a good resource for better understanding the current concern and spread of the virus at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html.

There are no confirmed cases of the virus at CSU.

We are taking extra precautions to monitor for the virus, and the university’s plan to monitor for any concerns was on Jan. 14. This includes special protocols that our CSU Health Network staff have put in place that day to help them quickly identify individuals who may be ill with the virus, and to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The university’s pandemic flu plan is robust and systematic. It is flexible with university-wide precautions and actions that can be rapidly scaled up or down, depending upon the risk within our community. All of the key university offices and units that would need to take precautions are included in this plan, such as Housing and Dining, Environmental Health Services, Facilities Management, CSU Health Network and the Public Safety Team. This plan also connects directly to our community health experts at Larimer County Health Department and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Our Health Network providers are in constant contact with offices monitoring for cases of coronavirus across the state.

Advice for those with symptoms

I have viral or cold symptoms. Should I be concerned?

There are also many cases of the common cold and flu across the university community. If someone is ill, it is critically important not to assume that they have coronavirus.

If you have not been in east Asia or southeast Asia since early January, your risk of having the virus is very low.

Having the flu or a cold – sore throat, coughing, sneezing, fever – is still a difficult way to start the semester. Be sure to get plenty of rest, wash your hands often, and cover your mouth and nose with your elbow when you sneeze or cough.

If you have symptoms of a cold, flu, or pneumonia (coughing, fever, chills, chest pain when you breathe or cough, and difficulty breathing), and you have recently traveled to east Asia or southeast Asia, contact your health provider and tell them you have recently been in east Asia or southeast Asia where the virus has been present, which is near Wuhan City, China.

If you plan to travel to east Asia or southeast Asia soon, follow the travel warnings from the U.S. State Department and consult with your health provider for advice. You may need to change or delay your travel plans. If you are traveling to this area as a CSU student or employee, it is critical that you follow all pre-travel protocols through the office, college or unit sponsoring your travel and follow all travel policies and guidelines.

Thank you,

CSU Health Network and the Public Safety Team

CSU University Communications Staff