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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Indiana University promotes coronavirus awareness, prevention

Officials want students know the symptoms, how the virus spreads and general precautions they can take.
(WTHR file photo)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WTHR) - Indiana University is keeping close tabs on the spread of coronavirus.

While there haven't been any cases reported in Indiana, IU wants to make sure students know the symptoms, how the virus spreads and general precautions they can take, which are to similar to flu prevention.

"We've had some inquiries from the community, students and parents already, so we're informing them of the same things," said Graham McKeen, IU Environmental Health and Safety. "We're monitoring closely, working with our partners and following guidance as it's coming out and it's developing quickly still."

Last spring, the campus had to deal with a mumps outbreak with at least 20 cases reported, all traced back to a fraternity house.

The school posted this public safety advisory on Friday:

In order to promote safety and security for students and employees, a Public Safety Advisory is being issued for the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China.

University administration and campus health officials, in coordination with local health departments, the Indiana State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, are closely monitoring the ongoing outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) related illnesses in China and in individuals who recently traveled in East Asia or Southeast Asia.

This is a rapidly changing situation and as more about the virus is understood, recommendations and affected areas may change. Information will be updated as soon as it is available and verified.

Please call your primary health care provider or your IU campus health center if you:

Have traveled to Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, or

Were in close contact with a person who is under investigation for coronavirus while they were ill or has a laboratory-confirmed case within the last 14 days, and

Have symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath.

When you call, please inform them of your symptoms and recent travel or potential exposure before going to the health facility.

Most cases are mild and most have recovered without issue. IU will continue to monitor the situation closely.

The largest health concern on campus remains common influenza.

In light of cold and flu season and this current outbreak of a new virus, follow these best practices to help prevent the spread of illnesses:

Stay away from ill people and stay away from others if you are ill.

Wash your hands often with soap and water.

Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or tissue.

Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Use single use tissue and dispose immediately.

Do not share drinks, food, or utensils.

Get good sleep and drink plenty of water.

Get an annual flu (influenza) shot through your primary care provider, local minute clinic or campus health center.

Clean and disinfect common touch surfaces frequently.

Avoid large or crowded events if you feel sick.

There is currently a Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Travel Alert – Level 3 – Avoid All Nonessential Travel to Wuhan, China and a Travel Alert – Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions– for all travel to China.

The Indiana State Department of Health has information specific to the coronavirus.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information about Coronavirus 2019-nCoV.