UH restricts travel to South Korea, Italy, China, Iran due to coronavirus
The UH System has restricted travel to South Korea, Italy, Iran and China on Monday due to warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the coronavirus outbreak.
UH is closely monitoring the global outbreak, according to a Monday press release. Currently, the University has not identified any coronavirus cases on UH campuses.
“However, as Coronavirus has become much more prominent in the United States and has begun to spread more rapidly through parts of Europe and Asia, it is incumbent upon all of us to remain aware and vigilant of this potentially serious public health threat,” said the Chief Physician and Executive Director of the Student Health Center, Dr. Vanessa Tilney.
The CDC has issued Level 3 Travel Warnings to avoid all nonessential travel to the University’s restricted countries, and anyone considering international travel has been advised to monitor the CDC’s website for the latest updates regarding travel and COVID-19.
With Spring Break approaching, the University recommends that everyone in the UH community examine their personal travel plans and takes precautions where necessary. The Texas Department of State Health Services can help provide guidance for those planning to travel or who have recently returned from these restricted countries.
“The University encourages the UH Community to heed all U.S. government travel warnings related to the novel coronavirus,” said Dr. Tilney.
Prevention is the best protection for the coronavirus outbreak, and it helps reduce chances of contracting other respiratory illnesses caused by influenza, parainfluenza and RSV viruses, Tilney said in the release.
Professors will be flexible with students missing instruction or in-class assignments and tests because they’re sick, Tilney said.
The incubation period for this kind of virus is typically 10-14 days, Tilney said. Currently, there are no vaccines to prevent coronavirus infections, including infection with SARS-CoV-2.
UH encourages students to always practice good hygiene: wash hands often and correctly, cover coughs and sneezes, avoid sharing food, cups or utensils, try not to touch your face with unwashed hands, get a flu shot and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
Recognizing the symptoms of this illness is also important, Tilney said. These may include a high fever, cough and difficulty breathing. These symptoms may feel similar to the flu or a bad cold.
Tilney said to seek care and immediately notify the University Student Health Center and your health care provider if you have recently traveled to any country with a CDC Level 3 Travel Warning and are experiencing these symptoms.
UH faculty and staff who are ill with flu-like symptoms should stay home and contact their personal physician for further advice, Tilney said.
UH stays in regular contact with local, state and federal health officials for the latest information regarding the coronavirus, Tilney said. The University said they will continue to provide updates to the UH community when warranted.
“Preparedness is key and knowing how you will continue essential functions during an interruption is vital,” said Dr. Tilney.