Stanford University

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated: February 13th, 2020 at 1:33 pm

Since December 2019, there has been emerging public health concern regarding an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new strain of coronavirus, now called COVID-19, in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Stanford University is restricting all travel to China. Requests for exceptions need to be fielded by a Vice President, Provost, or Dean and then forwarded to the Provost’s Office.

For all Stanford community members: if you (or a spouse/housemate) have returned from travel to mainland China in the last 14 days, we ask that you self-isolate, working or studying from home, until 14 days have passed since your return date. This includes all individuals, including children, with or without symptoms. 

Stanford will continue to monitor the risk associated with travel to Hong Kong and Macau. We currently recommend avoiding travel to these areas and anticipate the 14-day self-isolation period may be extended to these locations.

Stanford University is actively monitoring the developing situation with respect to the spread of the disease and potential impacts to university functions.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT STANFORD’S RESPONSE TO AND PREVENTION OF COVID-19 ON CAMPUS

 

What is COVID-19?
  1. (last updated 2/3/2020)

    COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. Learn about the COVID-19.

    Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that typically cause mild respiratory infections, although they can result in more severe disease, as seen in past years with SARS and MERS. This “novel coronavirus” is a strain that had previously not been found in humans, and its health impact is currently being closely monitored internationally, nationally, and locally, by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department.


What are the symptoms of the virus?
  1. (last updated 2/3/2020)

    The current evidence is that most cases (~80%) of COVID-19 appear to be mild. The most common symptoms include fever (38°C/ 100.4 °F) and respiratory complaints such as cough and shortness of breath.

    In more severe cases, infection can lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. Those with chronic underlying medical conditions appear to be at high risk for serious complications. 

    Runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, and diarrhea are NOT commonly present.

    Read about COVID-19 Symptoms.


How does the virus spread?
  1. (last updated 2/3/2020)

    Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that commonly circulate in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses have infected people, such as with MERS and SARS.

    The incubation period, or the time from which someone is exposed to their onset of symptoms, is most commonly reported to be in the 2-7 day range, but may range up to 14 days for COVID-19.  This means that it could take up to 10-14 days for someone to exhibit symptoms after they are infected. 

    Person-to-person spread is the primary source of transmission. Based upon available information, it appears that close contact with respiratory droplets from someone who is symptomatic (fever, cough) is the main source for transmission.

    Recent data reports that at least a subset of cases may be contagious 1-2 days prior to symptom onset, although it is believed the degree of transmission is highest when someone has symptoms. It also appears that those who are infected can spread the virus through their feces/stool/bowel movements. Information about transmission is evolving and is being closely investigated by CDC and WHO.


Have there been any cases of COVID-19 in the Bay Area or at Stanford?
  1. (last updated 2/3/2020)

    At this time, there have been no identified cases of COVID-19 at any Stanford campus. 

    As of Feb 2, Santa Clara County Public Health Department announced two cases of COVID-19. 

    There have been a few cases of COVID-19 in the United States. Johns Hopkins has developed a map that tracks the scope of the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Resource: Johns Hopkins Map Tracks Coronavirus Outbreak


How is the University working to reduce the risk of COVID-19?
  1. (last updated 2/3/2020)

    Stanford is working closely with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, and in line with recommendations from the CDC.  We are actively monitoring the developing situation with respect to the spread of the disease and potential impacts to university functions.

    Stanford’s Public Health Policy Committee (PHPC) develops policy on various public health issues affecting the Stanford community, including Stanford’s response to novel coronavirus. The PHPC is a collaborative effort facilitated by Stanford’s Environmental Health and Safety Department, Occupational Health Center, and Vaden Health Center. Members of the Public Health Policy Committee focusing on the COVID-19 outbreak include:

    • Department of Emergency Management
    • Department of Public Safety
    • Land, Buildings & Real Estate (LBRE)
    • Office of International Affairs
    • Office of Risk Management
    • Office of Student Affairs
    • Office of University Communications 
    • Office of the Provost
    • Office of the General Counsel
    • Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE)
    • SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    • Stanford University Occupational Health Center
    • Stanford University School of Medicine
    • University Human Resources
    • Vaden Health Center

Is Stanford cancelling classes or events due to COVID-19?
  1. (last updated 1/29/2020)

    Currently, Stanford classes, events, and other campus activities are continuing without interruption. 

    For all events, all attendees should self-monitor for fever, cough, and other symptoms and stay home or isolate if ill. Anyone arriving from mainland China should refrain from attending campus events until 14 days have passed since their departure from China.


How can I help prevent illness?
  1. (last updated 1/29/2020)

    Prevention measures are similar to those utilized against the common cold and flu, which are currently circulating in high numbers in California.

    • Get a flu shot. We strongly recommend that everyone obtain seasonal flu vaccination. While it will not prevent COVID-19, influenza is currently in widespread circulation in California, and initial symptoms can be similar to novel coronavirus. Any illness right now can increase anxiety and concerns. Members of the Stanford community can contact the SU Occupational Health Center (Stanford employees) or go to Vaden Health Center (Stanford students) to get a flu shot.
    • 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.
    • Don’t share food and drinks.
    • Clean and disinfect shared surfaces and objects that are touched frequently (e.g. door knobs, desks, phones).
    • If you can, avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.

    Read about COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment.

    Resource: Illness Prevention Flyer.


Should I be wearing a mask?
  1. (last updated 2/3/2020)

    CDC does not currently recommend the use of face masks among the general public. While limited person-to-person spread among close contacts has been detected, this virus is not currently spreading in the community in the United States.


Has Stanford applied restrictions on travel to impacted areas?
  1. (last updated 2/05/2020)

    Stanford University is restricting all travel to China. Requests for exceptions need to be fielded by a Vice President, Provost, or Dean and then forwarded to the Provost’s Office.

    Stanford recommends avoiding travel to or through Hong Kong and Macau.

    Beginning Feb. 2, any U.S. citizens returning home who have been in the Hubei Province of China within the past 14 days will be quarantined for up to 14 days, as directed by the Center for Disease Control under the authorization of U.S. Health and Human Services. The U.S. State Department has temporarily suspended entry into the United States for any foreign nationals who traveled to or from China. 

    There are many current challenges with travel to and from China. There are a number of current and predicted flight cancellations by major carriers. Travelers from China may be subject to enhanced screening measures when entering other countries through airports and seaports leading to delays and potential quarantine for those with illness. San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and other U.S. airports continue to screen passengers arriving from China for symptoms associated with COVID-19. 

    Read CDC’s travel health notices related to this outbreak.


I have just returned from travel to China. Can I return to work/study on campus?
  1. (last updated 2/10/2020)

    For all Stanford community members: if you (or a spouse/housemate) have returned from travel to mainland China in the last 14 days, we ask that you self-isolate, working or studying from home, until 14 days have passed since your return date. This includes all individuals, including children, with or without symptoms. 

    • If you are a student, please contact Vaden Health Center for a phone consultation. The date of return to work and/or class will be determined after this medical review. 
    • If you are an employee, please notify your supervisor and then call the Stanford University Occupational Health Center (SUOHC) for an initial phone consultation appointment with a clinician. Following the consultation, the SUOHC will send employees and their supervisors a Return to Work Evaluation form indicating the employees’ status.

    Supervisors are highly encouraged to adopt flexible work arrangements, permitting telecommuting and teleconferencing to allow employees to work from home during the designated self-isolation period. If your supervisor cannot identify work from home arrangements, the supervisor should consult with their local HR.

    Stanford will continue to monitor the risk associated with travel to Hong Kong and Macau. We currently recommend avoiding travel to these areas and anticipate the 14-day self-isolation period may be extended to these locations.

    Resource: What does it mean to self-isolate?


If I recently traveled to China and got sick, what should I do?
  1. (last updated 1/31/2020)

    If you were in China and feel sick with fever (38°C/ 100.4 °F), cough, or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after you left China, you should:

    • Seek medical advice right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
    • Students should immediately notify Vaden Health Center, and employees and postdocs should notify the Stanford University Occupational Health Center.
    • Avoid contact with others.
    • Not travel while sick.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

    Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

    For medical emergencies (e.g., shortness of breath, chest pain): call 911

    For urgent medical needs: Stanford Emergency Room (Open 24/7), 1199 Welch Road, Stanford, CA 94305, (650) 723-5111

    • If you have active respiratory symptoms, please wear a mask, if possible
    • Inform the valet at the door of your recent travel to China

What Medical Tests are Available for COVID-19?
  1. (last updated 1/31/2020)

    Medical tests for COVID-19 are conducted at the discretion of the county public health department, not at the discretion of individual healthcare providers. If the county feels testing is warranted, they then consult with the CDC. The CDC tests all specimens.

    CDC Criteria for Testing of Suspected Cases of COVID-19:

    • Fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) PLUS a history of travel to Wuhan, China or close contact with a person under investigation for COVID-19 in the14 days before symptoms began 

    Fever or symptoms of lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) PLUS close contact with an ill, laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case in the14 days before symptoms began


What should I do if I have questions about my personal health situation ?
  1. (last updated 1/30/2020)

    Stanford Students: Call your healthcare provider or Vaden Health Center for advice.

    Stanford Employees and Postdocs: Call your healthcare provider for personal health concerns, or the Stanford University Occupational Health Center for work-related health concerns. 

    What if I am not feeling well?

    • Stay home when you are sick. Do not report to work or attend classes if you are ill.
    • If you are ill, it is highly likely that you have either a cold or the flu. The number of active influenza cases is currently very high, and over 10,000,000 (ten million) people in the U.S. have been sick with the flu this year.

    For medical emergencies: call 911

    For urgent medical needs: Stanford Emergency Room (Open 24/7), 1199 Welch Road, Stanford, CA 94305, (650) 723-5111

    Resource: Cover Your Cough Poster.


I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed, who can I talk to?
  1. (last updated 1/29/2020)

    Stanford CAPS is dedicated to Stanford student emotional health and can be reached 24/7 at 723-3785.  Faculty, staff, and postdocs can contact the HELP Center at 723-4577.

    Santa Clara County maintains an anonymous crisis line that is available 24 hours, 7 days a week, at 1-800-704-0900 (Mental Health Services).  

    SAMHSA’s Distress Helpline (related to any natural or human-caused disaster) is accessible 24/7 at 1-800-985-5990 or via text (send TALKWITHUS to 66746; Press 2 for Spanish).




Back to Top