Coronavirus: Frequently Asked Questions

Comprehensive FAQs for USD Regarding 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

February 1, 2020

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USD’s Current Situation, Response and Support

Q: What is USD doing about 2019-nCoV?

A: This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and USD will continue to provide updated information that is most pertinent to the USD community, as it becomes available. USD works closely with our local Public Health Department and follows guidance and recommendations from our local, state and federal (CDC) public health experts.  USD is committed to providing information to our community, and supporting community members affected by the 2019-nCoV.  

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Disease Basics

Q: What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

A: The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Learn about 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

Q: What is a novel coronavirus? 

A: A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

Q: How does the virus spread?

A: This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses.

Q: Am I at risk for 2019-nCoV infection in the United States, or even at USD?

A: This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment may change daily. The latest updates are available on the  CDC’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus website. Currently, there are no cases of 2019-n-CoV exposures or cases at USD. You will be updated if the situation changes. 

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Prevention

Q: How can I help protect myself?

A: Visit the 2019-nCoV Prevention and Treatment page to learn about how to protect yourself from respiratory illnesses, like 2019-nCoV.

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • 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.

Q: What should I do if I had close contact with someone who has 2019-nCoV?

A: There is information for people who have had close contact with a person confirmed to have, or being evaluated for, 2019-nCoV infection available online.

Q: Does CDC recommend the use of face masks in the community to prevent 2019-nCoV?

A: No. CDC does not currently recommend the use of face masks among the general public. While limited person-to-person spread among close contacts has been detected, this virus is not currently spreading in the community in the United States. 

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Medical Information

Q: What are the symptoms of 2019-nCoV?

A: Patients with 2019-n-CoV have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of: fever (>100.4 F / 38.0 C), cough, shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Read more about 2019-nCoV Symptoms.

Q: The symptoms of 2019-nCoV sound like a cold or flu, so should I be tested?

A: If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel from China, you should call ahead to a healthcare professional and mention your recent travel. If you have had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from this area, you should call ahead to a healthcare professional and mention your close contact and their recent travel. Your healthcare professional will work with our state’s public health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine if you need to be tested for 2019-nCoV.

Q: I did not travel from China in the past 14 days, nor have had close contact with someone diagnosed with 2019-nCoV, but I have a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, do I need to be assessed or tested for it?

A: No. At this time, you are not considered to be at risk for 2019-nCoV. Treat this like the common cold or the flu. 

Q: What if I recently traveled to China and got sick?

A: If you were in China and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after you left, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a health clinic or urgent care clinic or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. See here for a list of local hospitals and urgent care centers.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, if soap and water are not available.

The CDC has additional specific guidance for travelers available online.

Q: Will my USD Health Insurance cover expenses related to 2019-nCov if I am hospitalized?

A: Yes. 

Q: If I am self-isolating and begin to experience symptoms, should I go to the Student Health Center (SHC)?

A: CALL the Student Health Center, your healthcare provider or an Urgent Care Clinic by phone and tell them that you have recently traveled from China, are self-isolating and beginning to have symptoms. This will help the SHC to take steps to keep other people from getting exposed to your illness. (do not walk-in) if:

  • Your temperature is greater than 100.4F/38C or
  • You have a cough, difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath. 
  • If your symptoms are severe, call (619) 260-2222 (on-campus) and 911 (off campus) and report your symptoms and recent travel information.

If your healthcare provider office is closed (i.e. evenings/weekends), CALL your local Urgent Care Clinic or Emergency Department.

Q: If I don’t have a car, how should I get to a medical facility?

A: If you are a student, please call the Student Health Center (SHC) and the medical team will help prepare for your visit if needed. Based on your symptoms we may be able to advise you over the phone. If we need to see you in person we will determine the best method of transport to the SHC or another medical facility.  For example, we may ask you to wear a mask and DPS will transport you or if you are needing to go to the hospital we may utilize emergency medical transport.

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Isolation Precautions

If you have traveled from China to the US, you need to self-isolate for 14 days after leaving China.

Q: I have returned from China in the past 14 days and feel fine. Do I need to do anything? 

A: Yes. You need to self-isolate and monitor your temperature and monitor for symptoms. You also need to email wellness@sandiego.edu as soon as possible with your name, student ID number, current residential location, dates, and location of travel and phone number. 

Q: Why do I need to let USD know that I’ve returned from China on or after January 18, 2020? 

A: USD will provide information and support! We will discuss your self-isolation plans and to discuss how we can support your health, academic success, and other needs.

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FAQs for those asked to self-isolate

Q: What do I need to monitor when self-isolating?

A: Measure and write down your temperature twice daily (morning and evening). Also, monitor for symptoms that may warrant future assessment by a healthcare provider.  Residents who need to self-isolate can have a friend obtain a thermometer from the Student Health Center or Mata’yuum Crossroads and deliver it to you (they should leave it outside your door). 

Q: What does it mean to self-isolate?

A: Please follow the CDC interim Guidelines for self-isolation

The key points are:

Stay home except to get medical care

You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, athletic practices or public areas.  Do not use public transportation or taxis/share rides.

Separate yourself from other people in your home

As much as possible, you should stay in a different room from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.

Call ahead before visiting your healthcare provider

Before your medical appointment, CALL the healthcare provider and tell them that you recently traveled from China, are self-isolating and monitoring for symptoms of 2019-nCoV infection. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected.

Wear a facemask

You should wear a facemask when you are in the same room with other people and when you visit a healthcare provider. If you cannot wear a facemask, the people who live with you should wear one while they are in the same room as you.

Cover your coughs and sneezes

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or you can cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can, and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Wash your hands

Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid sharing household items

You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items with other people in your home without properly cleaning them between uses.  To clean them you should wash them thoroughly with soap and hot water.

Monitor your symptoms

Seek prompt medical attention if you begin to demonstrate symptoms (e.g., difficulty breathing). Before going to your medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have recently traveled from China, are self-isolating and monitoring for symptoms of 2019-nCoV infection. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected. Ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department.

Q: What does it mean to self-isolate for residential students?

A: The residential life team will work with you to determine the most ideal location for self-isolation.  If needed, dining services will work with residential students to drop off groceries/meals to students. A drop off process will be coordinated on an individual basis. For more information please email wellness@sandiego.edu.

Q: If I am feeling well, can I go outside?

A: No. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, athletic practices, public areas, and do not use public transportation or taxis.

Q: I live off-campus, so how can I get food, toiletries, personal or household supplies while I am self-isolating?

A: There are various options available to you. You may have friends drop off items at your door, order from Amazon, Amazon Prime Now, UberEats/Doordash. You should follow self-isolation precautions and have the delivery to your door dropped off.  Open the door to retrieve the items once the delivery person has left. 

Q: I live on-campus, how will I get food while I am self-isolating?

A: Residential students will be provided with meals/groceries through USD dining services. Please advise Wellness of any food allergies.  

Q: Can I go home to self-isolate? (parent’s house in a different county/state)

A: You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not use public transportation or taxis/ rideshares. If you can take private transportation, and maintain self-isolation precautions, going home is encouraged. 

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Academic Support

Q: Will my faculty be notified?

A: After you notify wellness@sandiego.edu, your faculty members will be notified that you have been asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days.

Q: Will my classes and labs be impacted if I can’t attend?

A: The academic department will work with your faculty so that you are provided with reasonable academic accommodations to be able to keep up with your coursework. The faculty can decide how you might make up any missed lab work. 

Q: How will I keep up with course materials?

A: Your faculty will work with you to provide materials and resources to support your learning while you are away from class. 

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Other Questions

Q: What if I need to get a prescription refilled?

A: Call your pharmacy to determine if delivery service is available, or if a friend can pick up the prescription for you.

Q: Can I bring my pet/ESA with me?

A: If your self-isolation requires relocation, this will be managed on a case by case basis. Please alert Wellness that you have an ESA in your email communication.

Q: I am an athlete, do I skip practice? 

A: Yes. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, athletic practices, public areas, and do not use public transportation or taxis. Please advise Wellness if you are a USD athlete.  Athletics will be made aware to excuse you from practice.

Q: Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick?

A: Do not handle pets or other animals while sick. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with 2019-nCoV, several types of coronaviruses can cause illness in animals and spread between animals and people. Until we know more, avoid contact with animals and wear a face mask if you must be around animals or care for a pet.

Q: I need to work to pay my bills, what should I do?

A: You are encouraged to contact your employer as soon as possible to inform them that you are being asked to self-isolate as a result of your recent travel. If you receive financial aid, you may file an appeal for a change to your circumstances for consideration for an increase in your aid package.

Q: Am I at risk for novel coronavirus from a package or products shipping from China?

A: There is still a lot that is unknown about the 2019-nCoV and how it spreads. In general, because of poor survivability of coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely a very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support the transmission of 2019-nCoV associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of 2019-nCoV in the United States associated with imported goods.

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