Staying Healthy: Coronavirus and Flu | Thomas Nelson Community College

Staying Healthy: Coronavirus and Flu

February 27, 2020
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February 27, 2020 - Thomas Nelson officials are monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus termed “2019-nCoV.”  First detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in December 2019, it continues to expand in many areas of the world, including the United States. College officials are working closely with local and state monitoring, planning and response partners and are working to initiate appropriate planning and preparedness measures. 

Although the direct risk coronavirus poses to the College remains low, this is a dynamic and evolving public health situation.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 after exposure. The main symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, so it could look very similar to flu symptoms. The virus causes mild to severe respiratory illness which can develop more serious complications like pneumonia, especially in patients that have other underlying conditions. The virus is believed to spread person-to-person via small droplets produced when an infected patient sneezes or coughs.

As we are all part of a transient community, it is possible that confirmed cases of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus may be reported within our region. If you are a student, faculty, staff member or visitor to one of our campuses or sites who has recently traveled to Wuhan or who may have come in contact with an infected individual and you exhibit fever, shortness of breath, or a cough, seek medical assistance through your primary care physician.

If you are planning travel abroad, remember to:

  • Visit or consult with your primary care physician or healthcare provider,
  • Review the most recent information from the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health in advance for current travel health and vaccination recommendations,
  • Enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, to receive current embassy alerts and messages for your destinations, and 
  • Consult your exchange/travel abroad program sponsor or notify the Student Life and Leadership Office prior to traveling, if you are a participant in these programs.

The best preventative steps for any communicable disease include simple but important practices as part of your daily routine:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water.
  • Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

These precautions may help reduce your risk of many respiratory infections, including influenza, which is currently widespread across the nation. Seasonal influenza activity is an ongoing concern across the nation and the Commonwealth. The flu shot, available through primary care physicians and local pharmacies, is the best protective measure. 

If you have a fever, with or without respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath), please stay at home. Anyone exhibiting symptoms of a communicable disease is advised to remain out of class, away from work, and avoid others for the duration of the illness and for 24 hours after symptoms abate.

In an effort to prevent and reduce the spread of illness while also bolstering preparedness, College officials are monitoring the situation and areworking closely with our Virginia Department of Health partners. We will provide updates and information as necessary and appropriate to keep you abreast and help you prepare. 

Students, faculty, staff and visitors who have personal health-related questions, please consult your primary care physician or healthcare provider.

More information about the 2019-nCoV virus is available at:

http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/surveillance-and-investigation/novel-coronavirus
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html