Dear MSU community,
On a global stage, the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19 continues to evolve as Mississippi State University continues to monitor the situation and provide our students, faculty, and staff the most comprehensive information. This message represents our second direct email advisory since federal and state officials began their monitoring of the virus in earnest last month.
MSU offers these resources to those seeking information on the coronavirus (COVID-19): https://www.msstate.edu/newsroom/article/2020/02/msu-monitoring-coronavirus
This landing page now contains access to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Dashboard and to a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document.
The epicenter of this outbreak is Wuhan, China. Lesser numbers have been reported in several other countries, and, as of March 7, 2020, there were 164 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. The Johns Hopkins University Dashboard cited 566 confirmed U.S. cases as of March 9.
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 and Prevention (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 widespread transmission risk level as indicated by a CDC Level 3. On March 6, this includes China, South Korea, and Italy. MSU is discouraging travel to CDC Level 2 and 1 status countries, which today includes Japan and Hong Kong. Students and employees are asked to reconsider all non-essential international travel. For more, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
MSU is communicating directly with students and faculty impacted by study abroad programs to address their status. That process is ongoing.
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 and experts at the MSDH to strategically monitor this evolving public health issue. MSDH consults directly with the CDC.
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. MSU community members who have recently traveled in impacted areas and returned in recent weeks have been asked to self-isolate in keeping with CDC and MSHD protocols. All have complied.
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. David R. Shaw
Provost and Executive Vice President
Mississippi State University
Clifton W. Story, MD
University Health Services
MSU Division of Student Affairs