Novel coronavirus information

February 6, 2020

New information and CDC guidance on the novel coronavirus

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

We recognize there have been several messages regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak over the past few weeks. This email contains new information and guidance, and we ask that you read it carefully.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week issued new guidance for people who have arrived from mainland China on February 3 or later. These individuals are being asked to stay home and monitor their health for 14 days following their last day in mainland China.

Anyone who arrived to the U.S. on Feb. 2 or earlier and has no symptoms can continue normal activities, such as going to class or coming to work, and should watch for any health changes for 14 days after leaving mainland China. Contact a health-care provider if you develop a fever, cough or experience difficulty breathing.

Below are instructions for students, faculty, staff and other UW personnel who have arrived in the U.S. from mainland China on Feb 3 or later.

Students: Any student who arrived in the U.S. on or after Feb. 3 AND visited mainland China in the previous 14 days should stay at home and not attend class or other UW-related activities until a full 14 days have passed since their last day in mainland China. Any student who meets these criteria – or is unsure whether they do – should contact UW Environmental Health & Safety’s (EH&S) Employee Health Center at or 206-685-1026 to coordinate with health and safety support professionals. This will assist in ensuring the safety and care of those in need as well as the rest of the UW community.

Faculty, staff and other personnel: All UW faculty, other academic personnel or staff who have arrived in the U.S. on or after Feb. 3 AND visited mainland China in the previous 14 days are asked to:

  • stay at home and monitor their health until a full 14 days have passed since their last day in mainland China, and
  • UW Medicine personnel should contact Employee Health Services (UWMC Montlake at 206-598-4848, UWMC Northwest at 206-668-1625, or Harborview Medical Center at 206-744-3081) for further information, support and coordination.
  • All other employees should contact UW Environmental Health & Safety’s (EH&S) Employee Health Center at or 206-685-1026 for further information, support and coordination.

The UW will work with affected individuals on workplace, academic and other necessary support. Personal health information will remain confidential (or protected) in accordance with University policy.

Everyone: The uncertainty around the spread of an illness such as this can be stressful and emotionally challenging. Let’s TalkHall Health and the UW Counseling Center are available for students in need of support on the Seattle campus, while UW Bothell students can connect with the UWB Counseling Center and UW Tacoma students should contact Counseling & Psychological ServicesUW Carelink is available for all employees.

According to public health officials, the risk of coronavirus to the UW community remains low. There is no need to take additional precautions beyond those you would normally take to avoid the spread of colds and viruses during flu season.

As a reminder, the UW has had four students screened for coronavirus. Three of those tests have come back negative and the fourth, a student living off campus, was announced yesterday and is still pending. Updates will continue to be posted here.

Finally, let’s remember the importance of support, compassion and care for one another – particularly for those members of our community who may be more directly affected by this situation. This is a moment in which we must live up to and maintain our values around diversity and inclusion – not to stray from them. The UW is a place where many of the world’s best and brightest minds come together to solve many of our most vexing problems – and we, indeed, have experts in medicine, public health and global health directly involved in the worldwide response to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Working together – with empathy, humanity and support for one another – will help our community stay healthy during this difficult time.


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