Marshall University officials are continuing to closely monitor the public health situation related to the coronavirus COVID-19. Although no cases have been confirmed in West Virginia, the university is actively preparing should the virus begin to affect the institution and community.
Marshall University and Marshall Health officials have attended COVID-19 briefings with the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the State of West Virginia.
Marshall’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety is coordinating the university’s response to the outbreak in accordance with the Infectious Disease Preparedness Plan. University leadership is meeting frequently to review the plan.
Marshall University has an emergency management system that includes many different scenarios, including dealing with a communicable disease outbreak. In the event COVID-19 escalates to a higher risk for our community, the emergency management system will be implemented. To follow public safety and emergency announcements from Marshall University, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to enroll in the MU Alert system.
University Travel and Mandatory Travel Registry
- Given the escalation of the outbreak internationally, Marshall University has decided to cancel all university-sponsored international travel through April 30. The situation will be reassessed at that time and a decision made regarding future travel. This decision was made in response to guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and in consultation with the university’s chief medical officer.
- As Spring Break approaches, students, faculty and staff who have plans to travel either internationally OR to affected areas in the U.S. are strongly urged to reconsider their travel. Please take into account the possibility of travel delays, future quarantines, or prolonged self-isolation when returning to Marshall University and our community.
- For members of the Marshall community who do travel internationally, the university has created a mandatory international travel registry. Effective immediately and until further notice, all international travelers must register personal as well as professional travel. This applies to travelers who are already in these jurisdictions. Local, state and federal travel regulations and health guidelines are changing rapidly, and we want to be as responsive and supportive as possible should more changes occur.
- Any student, faculty or staff member returning to the U.S. from any country determined by the Centers for Disease Control to be a Warning Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) will be asked to undergo quarantine at their permanent home residence for a minimum of 14 days prior to returning to campus. If undergoing quarantine at your permanent residence is not possible due to extraordinary circumstances, the university will provide temporary housing during the mandatory quarantine period. Affected individuals should contact the Office of Student Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The university is in close, regular communication with students currently abroad on exchange and other programs, regarding how to monitor and assess their current situations based on conditions in the country they are visiting.
How is it spread?
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. Therefore, it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment, although there have been fatal cases of COVID-19.
What is the treatment?
To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.
Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation.
How can people protect themselves?
- Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth because viruses can be transmitted from surfaces to your body.
- Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- Stay home if you feel unwell. For excused absences, students should contact the Office of Student Advocacy and Support.
- If you are feeling sick, call your healthcare provider before seeking medical care.
- Students who have recently traveled internationally, had exposure to a known or suspected case of COVID-19, and are experiencing fever, cough or shortness of breath, should contact Student Health Services at 304-691-1100. Faculty and staff should call their primary care provider or the Marshall Health hotline at 304-696-2900, particularly if you believe you have been exposed. There also are two local hospitals, and the emergency department of both are available 24/7.
Seasonal Flu Information
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) recommends that everyone receive the seasonal flu vaccine. Emphasis is always placed on early vaccination of high-risk individuals. The flu season generally runs from October through March and sometimes in early April.
The seasonal influenza virus is spread mainly by person-to-person contact through droplets created by coughing or sneezing of infected people. The seasonal flu has a greater impact on young children, older people, and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease); these individuals are at high risk for serious complications.
Signs and symptoms of seasonal flu are similar to the common cold, however the flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, headaches, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough and sore throat are more common and intense. Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.
For more information visit the CDC’s influenza web site.