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What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 (formerly known as novel coronavirus 2019 or 2019-nCoV) is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Since then, cases have been identified in multiple other countries including the US.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:

  • It is newly identified, so much is still unknown about it.
  • Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have caused severe illness.

What is the risk?

The CDC considers this new virus a public health concern based on current information. However, the immediate health risk to the general US public is considered low at this time. The CDC and the World Health Organization are closely monitoring the situation and providing ongoing guidance. 


Symptoms and transmission

Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Person-to-person spread is occurring, although it’s unclear exactly how it is transmitted and how easily the virus spreads between people

Treatment

People infected with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 infection. (source: CDC)


Prevention

There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

Currently, COVID-19 has not been found to be spreading in the US, so there are no additional precautions recommended for the general public to take. 

Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

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

Recommendations for people with respiratory symptoms:
If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing and in the last 14 days:
  • You traveled to/through Wuhan, China OR
  • You visited another affected region in China, OR 
  • You had close contact with someone who had traveled to an affected region in China and had respiratory symptoms
You should:
  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. 
  • Dominican University students may call the Wellness Center at 708-524-6229.
  • Other community members should contact their health care providers or call the Cook County Department of Public Health at 708-633-4000.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Avoid public transportation and other 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. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

For more information

To learn more about what Dominican University is doing regarding COVID-19 and to see answers to frequently-asked questions, visit our COVID-19 FAQs page.