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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.