Coronavirus update | March 4, 2020

Dr. Pennings of the Campbell University Health Center

Courtesy of Dr. Nicholas Pennings, director of the Campbell University Health Center
Updated: March 4, 2020

Campbell University Health Center is working with state and local health officials to closely monitor the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus (COVID-19) first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. 

The campus community and travelers, in particular, are asked to stay updated as events unfold on the world stage.

Campbell’s Health Center emphasizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) message that COVID-19 currently poses little risk to the Campbell University community. On March 3, a man in Wake County became the state’s first and only confirmed coronavirus case after traveling to Washington, where several cases have been treated. According to Gov. Roy Cooper, state task force and agencies are working closely with health departments, health care providers and others “to quickly identify and respond to cases that might occur.”

Presently, if you have not visited the affected region or had close contact with someone who has visited the affected regions, you are not at risk of exposure to this illness. Public health officials are continuing to learn more about COVID-19, and they will provide updates to the university as new information emerges.

Campbell University staff, faculty or students who are ill:

If you have traveled to an area within the last 14 days, where the COVID-19 infection has spread (which as of Feb. 28, 2020, includes: China, Japan, South Korea, Italy or Iran) or have been in contact with someone who has confirmed coronavirus infection AND you have a fever or respiratory illness it is recommended you seek health care. Please call the University Health Center at 910-893-1560. 

University and Health Center officials ask if you are having any respiratory symptoms that you do not walk in to the Health Center, please call 910-893-1560 to be screened on how to best proceed.  Stay in your room until you are able to speak to someone in the health center.  Do not attend class or visit any dining halls, to limit exposure to others.

The Health Center has a policy in place to handle any cases that may be suspected as COVID-19. Health Center faculty and staff have put together a questionnaire to help with any questions and concerns you may have.

2019 Novel Coronavirus FAQ for the Campbell community

For more information and updates, visit the CDC COVID-19 FAQ page.

 Q: What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

A: 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus that causes respiratory illness.  Symptoms can include fever, cough, congestion, runny nose, stuffy nose, difficulty breathing, severe weakness and pneumonia.

Q: What is Campbell University doing about COVID-19?

A: The University is closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19.  There are currently no identified cases of infection in North Carolina. While the likelihood that the coronavirus will appear on our campus is minimal, we are nonetheless prepared to respond and will provide updates to the community as needed. Health Center staff are working closely with the federal Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Harnett County Health Department, the University is communicating proactively with individuals who may have traveled to or near the affected locations.  Anyone who may have been exposed to this infection and is having fever, cough or shortness of breath should contact the University Health Center at (910) 893-1560 for further instruction.

Q: What if I recently traveled to China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea?

A: If you are a Campbell University student, faculty or staff member and have traveled in or through these five areas, or if you have had direct contact with someone ill withCOVID-19 in the past 14 days, please call the Campbell University Health Center at 910-893-1560If you were in these areas or had direct contact with someone ill with COVID-19 and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing within 14 days after you left:

  • Call the Campbell University Health Center at 910-893-1560
  • Stay where you are until one of our staff calls you back. Do not come to the Health Center, attend class or visit the dining hall, to limit exposure to others.
  • Practice careful and frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others. Use an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • If you live with others, wear a mask if you are coughing, sneezing and/or congested with a runny or stuffy nose.
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

Q: How can I help protect myself?

A: The simple actions below will help to prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses and create a healthier campus community.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use and 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.

We are currently in cold and flu season.  It is not too late to get a flu shot, as flu season is expected through April.  We encourage all students, staff and faculty to obtain a flu shot to reduce the impact the virus can cause to individuals and our campus community.

Q: Will a mask protect me from respiratory illness?

A: Different cultures have different customs with regard to the use of protective masks.  Masks are worn for a variety of health reasons and do not necessarily indicate illness.  There is little evidence to suggest that wearing a mask in public will prevent people from being infected by breathing in the virus.  According to the CDC, the kind of masks that people often buy in pharmacies may not tightly fit the face, so the wearer can still breathe in air and infected droplets. Masks can provide protection by preventing the wearer from touching their mouth and nose, which is a common way viruses and germs enter the body.  They may also help trap infected droplets when a contagious person coughs or sneezes. (Source: NPR)

Q: Is there a vaccine?

A: Currently, there is no vaccine available to protect against 2019-nCoV.

Q: What are the treatments?

A: There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 infection.  People infected with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. 

Q: How does the virus spread?

A: This virus probably emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person.  Person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so.  It’s not clear yet how easily 2019-nCoV spreads from person-to-person. When person-to-person spread has occurred with MERS and SARS, it is thought to have happened mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. Spread of MERS and SARS between people has generally occurred between close contacts.

Q: Should I be tested for COVID-19?

A: If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel to China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea, please call the Campbell University Health Center at 910-893-1560.  If you have had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from this area, please call the Health Center at 910-893-1560. The Health Center staff will work with Public Health and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.