HOUSTON — Six University of Houston staff members and students who recently returned from Italy and South Korea are self-quarantining for two weeks out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to avoid spreading the virus to people on campus.
Two others are expected to return to the states by the end of the week. They will also self-quarantine for 14 days before they're allowed to return to campus.
UH issued a notice Wednesday to faculty, staff and students expressing the fact that it wants to "be especially vigilant in determining when anyone in our universities has become potentially exposed to the virus and take responsible actions to contain and prevent its spread."
The university issued a COVID-19 Exposure Statement in which it requires "any students, faculty or staff returning from travel to countries under a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Warning related to coronavirus to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days away from campus."
"This ensures that anyone who has returned and develops symptoms of COVID-19 will not inadvertently spread the virus to others on our campuses," the statement continues.
University officials said anyone considering travel to China, Iran, South Korea, Italy or Japan to fully understand the implications upon their return to the United States and to campus.
The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80-percent of the cases there were mild.
But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.
The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.
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How coronavirus is spread
Human coronaviruses are usually spread through:
- The air by coughing or sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
Help stop the spread of coronavirus
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Eat and sleep separately from your family members
- Use different utensils and dishes
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, hot your hand.
- If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
Lower your risk
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.