Environmental Health & Safety
Supporting the campus community by proactively protecting people, property and the environment in a responsible and cost effective manner.
UCI IS OPERATING NORMALLY

Novel Coronavirus

Novel Coronavirus

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19*)

*previously referred to as 2019-nCoV

This page is dedicated to keeping the UCI Anteater Community up-to-date on the latest information pertaining to the coronavirus. Remaining informed and vigilant are the priorities to maintain a safe and healthy campus. Because information on the coronavirus is evolving frequently, we encourage you to check back here to learn the latest information and any possible impacts to UCI or changes to UCI operations.

 


2019 Novel Coronavirus: Current State of Knowledge and Public Health Response

Watch live recording: https://drive.google.com/open?id=13jDJ3vseGtDV0lzg7j6t6nCzE1zrdfY9

  

UCI Podcast: Coronavirus discussion

Student Health Center medical director addresses coronavirus issues and misconceptions, and offers advice.

  

UCI Podcast: Inclusivity during difficult times

Douglas Haynes, vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion at the University of California, Irvine, joins Sheri Ledbetter on this episode of the UCI Podcast to discuss some of the sensitive cultural and racial aspects of the present time, particularly with regard to the growing awareness of the threat of novel coronavirus.

 

Message to the UCI Community

02/14/20: Inclusivity during difficult times

The Coronavirus pandemic is a global event affecting more than 25 countries. As you have read in recent campus messages from Dr. Albert Chang, medical director of the Student Health Center, there is still much that is unknown clinically about the novel virus. Knowledge is critical in informing how we respond, and it is for this reason that researchers – at UCI and around the world – are actively engaged in understanding and containing this novel virus.

Campus leaders, faculty experts, and student ambassadors are striving to share evidence-based best practices from the Centers for Disease Control, continually updating our coronavirus information resources; broadening our public health education campaign; and partnering with local and county public health agencies. We are living in this moment together.

Underlying the unknowns of the virus itself are assumptions and fears rooted in the human condition of coping with misinformation and the desire to protect one’s health. I explore these factors in the most recent episode of the UCI Podcast on inclusivity during challenging times.

What’s in a name?

As this pandemic has evolved over the past several weeks, so has the name and way in which we communicate about the novel Coronavirus. In its early days, the name of the city of Wuhan was used to describe the virus. The practice of associating a pathogen with a point of origin is shorthand for capturing a shifting and fast-moving process of discovery and transmission. Earlier this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) formally adopted the acronym COVID-19. UCI has adopted this term. We will also use the term “Coronavirus” or “novel Coronavirus” in our communications.

What has come from this name change is an important lesson about the use of language in our multi-cultural world. Shorthand references to points of origin have unintentional cognitive impacts, such as triggering implicit biases and stereotypes. This practice can stigmatize an entire region. Among examples in the distant and recent past, include the “Spanish Flu” in the 20th century and Ebola (a tributary of the Congo River in Central Republic of Africa) in recent memory. These terms are not only inaccurate but also reinforce groundless fears and stereotypes about regions in the world, not to mention the people who inhabit them; and others who immigrated or travelled to from the affected areas.

Correcting Course

The WHO’s decision to adopt the acronym COVID-19 is an important step in focusing attention on the virus, and interrupting implicit assumptions and explicit stereotypes about the affected communities and individuals who travel to and from China. However, in the intervening time since news of the novel Coronavirus broke in January and WHO’s official naming of the virus this week, Chinese and Chinese American communities have felt the impact of both unintentional and intentional biases and discrimination.

It is all of our individual responsibility to help shift this sentiment against a group of people and engage in dialogue based on accurate information about the Coronavirus and reject stereotypes and prejudice, whether on-line or in public. It is not enough to expect equity for ourselves but fail to advocate on behalf of others; to support diversity without understanding the diverse communities that make up our community; to practice inclusion without confronting bias and prejudice; and honor free speech without using it for advancing inclusive excellence.

At UCI, each person matters. It’s a commitment that extends beyond our campus borders to communities near and far. As Dr. Martin Luther King famously wrote “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied by a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” By appreciating our diversity and practicing intentional inclusivity, we expand our individual capacity for intelligent empathy. Let us consider this insight in responding to global events in the local context.

Douglas M. Haynes
Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion


More information:

Resources:

 

Dear Community,

We write to share with you the latest information for returning travelers from China, and UCI resources to help navigate specific concerns or questions.

As you may be following in the news this week, there have been updates to federal guidelines provided by the Department of Health & Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control. The guideline below is effective for travelers who have returned to the U.S. on or after Feb. 2, 2020.

If you have specific questions about your recent travel situation, students, staff and faculty may reach out to campus advisors who are available to help you navigate your specific situation.

  • Students may call the Student Health Center at 949-824-5301.
  • Staff and faculty may email or call the Employee Experience Center at eec@uci.edu or 949-824-0500.

We continue to work with the Orange County Health Care Agency and medical center leadership to evaluate the situation in Orange County, and we will share updates when available.

Please remember to stay healthy by washing your hands with soap and water frequently, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep.

Thank you for your cooperation in protecting the UCI community.

Enrique J. Lavernia, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Distinguished Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Albert S. Chang, MD, MPH
Medical Director, UCI Student Health Center


Recently Returned Travelers from China (FAQ)

More:

Dear Campus Community,

On Jan. 30, 2020, University of California President Janet Napolitano directed the UC community to temporarily “avoid all non-essential travel” to China. As a result of this directive, the campus and medical center have developed a process to determine if travel to China is absolutely essential, or if it can be postponed.

UCI faculty, staff, and students should also be aware that on Jan. 31, 2020, the U.S. Department of State issued a Level 4 alert, its most severe warning, stating “do not travel to China due to the 2019-nCoV novel coronavirus.” In addition, commercial airline carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China making travel difficult.

UC restrictions do not apply to travel that is solely personal, but such travelers should be aware of travel risks, and of federal government warnings on any type of travel to/from China.

Approval Process Prior to Travel

As result of President Napolitano’s directive, all non-essential travel to China is now restricted until further notice. All travelers who would like to engage in essential travel to China (defined in the following categories) must obtain prior approval as follows:

The UCI campus has an existing travel approval policy and process that applies to students. This policy and process are being temporarily extended to include faculty and staff travel to China.

The Policy for Student International Activities - http://www.policies.uci.edu/policies/pols/420-10.php - includes a review process by the UCI International Risk Review Team which will temporarily include representation from UCI Health and the Academic Senate, as this policy is being extended to include faculty.

During this time, anyone who believes their travel to China is essential should contact the UCI International Risk Review Team to request review and approval before travel. Please email global@uci.edu to request a review.

As directed by President Napolitano, it is of the utmost importance that all faculty, staff, and students traveling abroad for university-related purposes register their international travel with the UC International Travel Registry before their expected departure. This information must be kept up-to-date as changes occur before and during travel. Registration is an important step in reducing the risks of travelling abroad and helps keep the University community safe, especially in environments with heightened health risks such as coronavirus.

For more information on coronavirus, please visit the following sites:

  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  • Campus EH&S Public Health Information
  • UCI Health Infection Prevention (UCI Health SharePoint login required)
  • Thank you for your cooperation. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

    Sincerely,

    Enrique J. Lavernia, Ph.D.
    Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
    Distinguished Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

    Dear Anteaters,

    We want to provide you this midweek update to address the latest information on Coronavirus and UCI operations, as well as to quell some of the rumors that are traveling through campus. As was noted in the campus zotmail dated January 26, there was a positive case of the Novel Wuhan Coronavirus identified in Orange County. That individual is recovering in isolation, and has no affiliation with UCI.

    UCI continues to operate normally, classes are not cancelled and the campus is not closed. Additionally, all ancillary activities such as seminars, athletic competitions, performances, and events continue to proceed as scheduled. Students should plan to continue attending classes and participating in campus activities.

    You will soon see reminders around campus as we prepare to launch a poster campaign to maintain vigilance within the Anteater community during this time of progressing information. As a preventative measure, campus facilities and custodial are increasing the frequency for wiping down common areas and using disinfectant, as well.

    Since the last email update to campus, a website was created to house all updates related to Coronavirus and UCI operations. We invite you to visit: https://ehs.uci.edu/PublicHealth/coronavirus.html. On this website are two sets of FAQs: one for students and one for faculty and staff. You can find the buttons for the FAQs on the right side of the screen. Please check back to this page often as we are continuing to post updates as information about Coronavirus evolves.

    Additionally, please listen to this UCI podcast where I talk candidly about the common questions students are asking both on campus and in social media. Here you can learn the latest information on face masks, and the symptoms and criteria for Coronavirus, as well as addressing the anxieties and fears students are expressing.

    We continue to work with the Orange County Health Care Agency and medical center leadership to evaluate the situation in Orange County, and we will share updates by email, social media, and on both the Student Health Center and Public Health websites. And, we continue to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control.

    Please remember to stay healthy by washing your hands with soap and water frequently, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep.

    Thank you for your cooperation in protecting the UCI community.

    Albert S. Chang, MD, MPH
    Medical Director, UCI Student Health Center

    Dear UCI Community,

    There are many messages going around concerning coronavirus. We have developed FAQs to provide you with the most up-to-date information we have, and to address rumors that are surfacing in various places.

    We are working with the Orange County Health Care Agency, the UC Office of the President and national and international medical communities to provide the UCI campus with the latest updates.

    Additionally, please see these two short videos produced by the Orange County Health Care Agency:

    We appreciate your cooperation in sharing accurate information during this time of evolving information.

    Dr. Albert S. Chang, MD, MPH
    Medical Director, UCI Student Health Center

    As you may have heard in news reports, the CDC and Orange County Health Care Agency have confirmed a positive case of the Novel Wuhan Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Orange County. We have been informed this individual is not a UCI student, faculty, staff, or patient. However, this is a serious matter, and we continue to monitor the situation. UCI and UCI Health have implemented measures to protect our community should a patient be identified in the future.

    We realize that there are many questions about the virus, its impact, and what it means for the UCI campus community. The FAQs below is provided to help answer basic questions about the virus, to share steps for keeping yourself healthy, and to provide guidance if you feel that you have potential symptoms or exposure.

    Any member of our community suspecting they have influenza or the Coronavirus should stay home. Students should call the Student Health Center at (949) 824-5304, or call their primary medical provider prior to arriving at the medical office. This will allow us to provide you with information on your illness, and to plan for your visit to the clinic, if needed. Faculty and staff should contact their provider’s office for additional instructions about seeking care.

    The campus continues to operate normally. As the campus and medical center leadership continue to evaluate the situation in Orange County, we will share updates here, by email and on the Student Health Center website.

    We appreciate your cooperation and support in protecting the UCI community.

    Albert S. Chang, MD, MPH
    Medical Director, UCI Student Health Center

    It’s that time of year when many of us get run down and catch colds or even the flu. You may also be seeing news stories on the increasing influenza rates, as well as a new virus in from Wuhan China called Coronavirus. While there may be people at UCI tending to the common cold or the flu, there are currently no known exposures on campus of the Coronavirus.

    However, we want to take this opportunity to remind our Anteater family of the precautions to take to prevent contracting any virus-borne illness. Most importantly, wash your hands often, stay well hydrated and if you are feeling any symptoms such as a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your healthcare provider.

    Additionally, as a student, keeping up-to-date with our immunization policy is essential. Please make sure that you are following requirements and have uploaded your immunization documentation to the UCI Student Health Portal. Faculty and staff should review their health records or visit a medical provider with questions about their vaccinations.

    Any student suspecting they have influenza or the Coronavirus should call the Student Health Center at (949) 824-5304, or call their primary medical provider prior to arriving at the medical office. This allows us to provide you with information on your illness, and plan for your visit to the clinic if needed. Faculty and staff should contact their provider’s office for additional instructions about seeking care.

    If you seek more information about the Coronavirus, please visit the website for the Center for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov. We are committed to working with the Orange County Health Care Agency, UCI Health, and other community partners to keep our campus healthy and inform you of any new developments.

    We appreciate your help in ensuring the health of the UCI community.

    Albert S. Chang, MD, MPH
    Medical Director, UCI Student Health Center


    Keeping yourself healthy

    As is typical for January, we are seeing a spike in respiratory illness like the flu virus. Flu and other respiratory illnesses are spread when someone with the illness coughs or sneezes and another person inhales respiratory droplets or touches a surface that has been contaminated by them (such as a desk, doorknob or keyboard) and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. Here are some precautions we encourage you to take so you can stay healthy:
    • Try to get sufficient sleep, exercise regularly, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.
    • Keep your hands clean and wash them frequently with soap and water. Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer and use it when you cannot wash your hands.
    • Get a flu shot – it’s not too late! Flu shots are available by appointment or by walking in to Student Health Center on any campus or from most pharmacies.
    • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve. When you use a tissue, throw it in the trash immediately. Do not use a handkerchief.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Do not share cups, straws, or anything else you put in your mouth.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick