2020 Coronavirus Information

Officials with UTC Emergency and Risk Management, University Health Services, Student Life, the Center for Global Education, Housing and Residence Life, and other campus entities continue to closely monitor information on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.

Key Facts

What is novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

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, the virus has been identified in multiple other countries, including cases in the U.S.

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

What are the symptoms and means of transmission?

This virus may cause symptoms that are 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. 

Can novel coronavirus be prevented?

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

What can be done 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.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Dispose of tissues in the trash immediately after using them.

Has travel been restricted?

The CDC has advised specific recommendations for travelers regarding 2019-nCoV. As always, travel that requires university approval is reviewed on a trip by trip basis with acknowledgement and awareness of the latest U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories.

What about people who may be infected?

People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. (source: CDC)

What about people who have respiratory symptoms?

If you have symptoms of fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing, and in the last 14 days you:

You should:

  • Seek medical care right away.
  • Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead to report your recent travel or possible exposure of an infected person and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.

Do not travel while sick:

  • Don’t use public transportation or walk into University Health Services
  • Instead, call 423-425-2266 during business hours and report your circumstances. If after hours, take advantage of available resources noted here to find care.

If you are concerned about possible exposure to or contraction of the 2019-nCoV:

  • Call before going to ANY medical facility to detail your concern before arrival.

Where is medical care available?

  • UTC students, faculty and staff may call University Health Services at 423-425-2266 during regular business hours.
  • You may contact your health care provider or your local health department.
  • The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department can be reached at 423-209-8190.

Where can I go if I want more information?

Please refer to the CDC Coronavirus Disease webpage for the latest information on this virus.