MSU University Health Services Executive Director Dr. Cliffton W. Story sent the following letter to the MSU community Thursday [Feb. 27]:
Mississippi State University is offering these resources to those seeking information on the coronavirus (COVID-19). https://www.msstate.edu/newsroom/article/2020/02/msu-monitoring-coronavirus
Health officials worldwide are closely monitoring the outbreak of illness caused by the newly identified coronavirus (COVID-19). The epicenter of this outbreak is Wuhan, China. Lesser numbers have been reported in several other countries, and, as of February 26, 2020, there were 60 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., including those repatriated to the U.S. from cruise ships abroad.
To date, there have been no cases of COVID-19 reported at MSU or in Mississippi. However, health officials worldwide recognize that this is a rapidly evolving situation and that recommendations of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. State Department, and the Mississippi Department of Health (MSDH) are subject to frequent change.
At present, MSU is not approving travel to countries that have been issued Level 3 status by the CDC, including China and South Korea. MSU is discouraging travel to Level 2 status countries, which now include Japan, Italy and Iran.
MSU will communicate directly with students and faculty impacted by study abroad programs prior to making public comment on those issues.
We encourage all students and parents to monitor the CDC website as it provides the most current reference: Novel 2019-2020 Coronavirus Infections - Click here for more information from the CDC
MSU’s Longest Student Health Center is working closely with campus partners, the CDC, and experts at the MSDH to strategically monitor this evolving public health issue.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- MSU has had no suspected cases of coronavirus, and MSU has not been notified of any member of the campus community with the virus.
- The risk for Mississippians currently remains relatively low and MSU — along with the CDC and the MSDH — is closely monitoring the situation. Coronavirus can cause mild illness that can be overcome, but more severe cases can be life-threatening.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:
- Take general precautions like frequent hand washing to prevent the spread of any virus, including seasonal flu, which is still active across Mississippi, the Southeast, and the U.S.
- If you have not received a flu shot, it is not too late. For additional advice on flu facts and prevention, visit cdc.gov/flu.
- If you have flu-like symptoms, it is likely the common cold or a common strain of the flu. Symptoms of coronavirus include, but are not limited to, fever, runny nose, headache, cough, and the general feeling of being unwell; these also are symptoms of the common flu virus.
- If you have concerning symptoms, call the MSU Longest Student Health Center prior to visiting at (662) 325-2431 or after hours at (1-800-882-6274).
Students and employees who have traveled from impacted areas in the past 14 days and who have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should contact the Health Center or seek appropriate care immediately.
All incoming patients arriving at the MSU Longest Student Health Center with cough, sneezing, sore throat, fever, and respiratory issues will be masked to protect other patients as we evaluate the cause of their illness.
All incoming patients will be asked to provide a travel history to determine if they are at risk for the newly identified coronavirus.
Prevention is a key strategy with any virus, such as influenza or coronavirus, so it is important to both protect yourself and take measures against spread to others.
The MSU Office of Public Affairs will circulate timely notices regarding any changes in MSU’s proactive strategies to responsibly monitor these public health concerns. Media inquiries should be directed to MSU Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-325-3442.
Dr. Clifton W. Story, MD
University Health Services
MSU Division of Student Affairs