COVID-19 is a disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. The virus is thought to be spread easily and sustainably from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets. Identifiable symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, fever, new loss of taste or smell, chills, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. At present, there is no treatment or vaccine available. To mitigate spread, we must identify possible cases, isolate positive cases, and conduct contact tracing in collaboration with MSDH.
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Here are some ways the virus is thought to be spread:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land on nearby surfaces or in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Our parameters and protocols are based upon recommended preventive measures issued from the public health community. Follow these CDC guidelines to protect yourself and others:
- Stay at least six feet from other people.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your home.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit. Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
- Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
- Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
As we return to campus, the university is taking precautions to protect our entire community, including all vulnerable individuals. All members of the UM community should keep in mind that there will be individuals on campus this fall who may have underlying conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. Each community member is expected to commit fully to protecting our community’s collective health and well-being.