With the U.S. death toll at 11 as of Wednesday night, COVID-19, or novel coronavirus, has states and municipalities scrambling to respond.
Hillsdale College “is developing additional strategies for combating coronavirus,” in the case the disease makes its way to Hillsdale County, Director of Health Services Brock Lutz said in an email.
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a strain of the coronavirus family connected to the SARS and MERS viruses. The illness is believed to have emerged from a seafood market in Wuhan, China, in late 2019.
Last Friday, Lutz sent out a campus-wide email with health reminders for students and faculty on ways to minimize the spread of viruses.
“With the situation of the coronavirus, we would like to remind everyone about how to minimalize the spread of any virus,” Lutz said in the email. “We ask that if you do not feel well, visit the Health Center, so we can test you and continue to keep close track of all those who are ill. Our Maintenance Department continues additional cleaning efforts of areas where students and staff are residing and working as well as other public spaces throughout campus.”
Lutz added that the college itself does not have a test for the coronavirus as of now.
“Infection for the coronavirus may appear 2 – 14 days after exposure,” Lutz said. “Hillsdale Hospital has a clear response and treatment protocol in place for the coronavirus and students will be referred and taken there. Parents will be contacted if a student is suspected of carrying the coronavirus virus.”
At the end of the email, Lutz asked students to notify Linda Snoes at the Health Center if they are planning on traveling out of the country over spring break.
Provost Christopher VanOrman sent an email this week to faculty and staff regarding travel concerns.
“Dr. Arnn said that if a country has reached a level 3 (reconsider travel) or 4 (do not travel) on the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisories site, we will not send students abroad to that country,” VanOrman said. “Many colleges and universities are following this protocol and it is probably best to err on the side of caution with our students.”
VanOrman mentioned that on Saturday, Italy moved to a level 3. The college has plans for a study abroad trip there in the summer.
Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expanding who can be tested for coronavirus, according to POLITICO. Now any American can be tested if a doctor suspects a virus. People no longer need to display specific symptoms.
This statement came after Pence told CNN on Sunday that the risk of the average American contracting coronavirus remains low.
Symptoms for the coronavirus include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fever, and cough.