COVID-19 information

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

As you may know, there is currently an international viral outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

We write to let you know that there are currently no known cases in Ohio. The first case in the United States was diagnosed this week in Washington state in a returning traveler from Wuhan, China. While the university will continue to monitor guidance from local, state and federal public health officials, there is no need at this time to change any routine activities or behaviors.

In general, practicing routine hygiene etiquette is the best way to prevent the spread of infection:

  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
  • Wash your hands or use alcohol hand rub after coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Anyone who is ill should keep a safe distance from others to reduce the risk of transmitting germs
  • Anyone who is seriously ill should seek medical advice from a doctor or emergency department

Students with international travel scheduled through Ohio State in the coming weeks — especially to China or other affected countries — should adhere to the direction provided through the Ohio State Office of International Affairs, which tracks routine updates on international travel alerts. Faculty and staff are also advised to consider these resources while monitoring U.S. Department of State- and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)- issued travel alerts carefully prior to departure.

Please see below for more information.

How does the virus spread?

Based on current guidance from the CDC, person-to-person spread is believed to occur through respiratory droplets with close contacts, similar to influenza and other respiratory pathogens. At this time, the incubation period from exposure to symptom onset is believed to be within 14 days. For example, if a person returned from an outbreak area more than 14 days ago, the person would be outside the window for disease onset.

What are the symptoms?

Coronaviruses typically cause respiratory illness in people. Symptoms of this disease would include fever and lower respiratory tract symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath. Based on current CDC guidance, patients will be tested for coronavirus if they have both:

  • Fever and/or cough/difficulty breathing and
  • A history of travel from Wuhan, China, or close contact with a person with suspected or confirmed 2019 Novel Coronavirus (close contact is considered within six feet or within a small room for an extended period of time — not casual contact)

Students with questions or who need medical care should contact the Office of Student Life’s Student Health Services at 614-292-4321. Faculty and staff with questions or who need medical care should contact their primary care physician.

We will continue to update you, and as more information becomes available, it will be shared on this webpage