Message on coronavirus from UHS Executive Director Jake Baggott

January 24, 2020

To our campus community,

I want to share with you how the university is responding to the coronavirus outbreak in east and southeast Asia. There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wisconsin. I hope this message will address any questions and ease any concerns you may have.

Read in:

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a virus group that can infect and spread between humans through close personal contact, coughing/sneezing, and touching surfaces with coronavirus on them and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. Coronaviruses circulate regularly and cause cold and flu-like illnesses every year. These illnesses usually last for a short amount of time. Sometimes, new strains can become more widespread.

What is the university doing?

University Health Services (UHS) is monitoring the situation, working closely with UW Health and our state and county public health partners. The UHS Primary Care clinic is screening patients to determine if they traveled in the past three weeks and if so, whether they traveled to the affected area in the past two weeks. If a student has a positive coronavirus screening, they will be isolated and quarantined. UW Health is following the same protocol with its patients.

What should I do?

If you have influenza-like symptoms and recently traveled in east Asia or southeast Asia, the CDC recommends that you be evaluated by a medical provider. Students may contact UHS to schedule an appointment (which is covered by your student health fee or SHIP). Faculty and staff may contact their primary care provider.

If you have not been in Wuhan in the past two weeks, your risk is very low. Influenza remains the most serious public health concern for members of the UW–Madison community. I encourage everyone to:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when sick
  • Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and cough or sneeze into your elbow

Public health officials advise that there is no need for people without symptoms to wear masks. Some healthy individuals may choose to wear a mask; this should not be a cause for concern.

If you are considering travel to China, please be aware of the guidance for travelers issued by the U.S. State Department.

How can I stay updated?

Visit our webpage for additional information and updates. If there is any need for you to take additional action, the university will also communicate with you directly via email.

In closing, I want to express my support for members of our Badger family who are from or have personal ties to east and southeast Asia. You are important and valued members of our community. I encourage you to reach out to these resources for support:

Jake Baggott

Executive Director, University Health Services, and Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs/Health and Wellbeing