Novel coronavirus information

January 28, 2020

Update: Negative coronavirus test results for two people; awaiting results of third

Sent on behalf of the University’s Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases

Dear members of the UW community,

The UW Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases (ACCD) is pleased to inform you that we have received negative test results for the second student who was tested for coronavirus. We anticipate receiving test results this week for the third student who was tested.

There continue to be no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus among UW community members.

As of January 28, there is only one case of confirmed novel coronavirus infection in Washington state. It is in Snohomish County and is not related to the UW.

IMPORTANT: Because this coronavirus outbreak could continue to develop around the world over the coming weeks and months, any future updates on individuals who meet the criteria for testing, not confirmed cases, within the UW community will be provided on this website and not via an all-University email message. If there is a confirmed coronavirus case within the UW community, there will be an email message sent to all members on all three campuses.

If members of the University community who have traveled to affected areas develop fever and respiratory symptoms, the University will continue to work closely with the appropriate public health department to ensure rapid testing and proper precautions to isolate any potential cases of coronavirus.

We are continuing to ask everyone — and, importantly, students in communal living situations, including on-campus housing, fraternities and sororities — to take steps we’ve always recommended to protect yourself and others, and to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, especially during cold and flu season:

  • Stay home when you are sick to prevent others from being exposed to your illness.
  • If you see a health care provider for fever and cough, ask for a surgical mask to help prevent spread of infection when in the health care setting.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.

If you have recently traveled to Wuhan, China, (within 14 days) and are having fever and respiratory symptoms (such as coughing or shortness of breath), contact your primary care provider. Call your health care provider before arriving so they can prepare for your visit.

UW-related travel (updated 1/27/2020)
This coronavirus outbreak began in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. A number of countries, including the United States, have been actively screening incoming travelers from China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has raised their travel advisory to a level 3: CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China. If you have questions about UW-related travel to or from an area with confirmed cases of coronavirus, please contact the UW Office of Global Affairs.

Coronavirus information
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing respiratory illness in people and others circulating among animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread among people. Several coronaviruses cause the common cold. Other types of previous coronavirus outbreaks have included severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). CDC states that the current risk to the American public of becoming infected with this novel coronavirus is low.

How to get additional reliable information

The University’s Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases is monitoring the outbreak in coordination with state and local health departments. The committee will provide updated information to the campus community as the situation evolves.

Geoffrey S. Gottlieb, M.D. Ph.D.
Interim Chair, UW Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases
Medical Director, UW Environmental Health & Safety Department
Professor of Medicine – Infectious Diseases
Adjunct Professor of Global Health
Center for Emerging & Re-emerging Infectious Diseases