A public safety advisory sent out by the IU Office of Public Safety & Institutional Assurance Friday warned about the dangers of coronavirus. An IU Health Center official confirmed there are no cases of coronavirus at IU.
The office sent out the advisory because of the number of concerned calls and people coming into the health center asking for information on the coronavirus, said Dr. Beth Rupp, medical director of the health center.
“Every time there’s an illness that’s causing death, it’s always concerning,” Rupp said.
She said more people have died from the flu this year than they have from coronavirus. The virus originated in December in Wuhan, China, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Illinois, Washington state, California and Arizona.
If a case appeared at IU, the person affected would be isolated to try to contain the virus, Rupp said. Health center doctors would then follow instructions given to them by the Indiana State Department of Health regarding how long to isolate the patient and how to deal with people the patient has been in close contact with.
University administration, campus health officials, local health departments, the Indiana State Department of Health and the CDC are monitoring coronavirus and people who have recently traveled to East Asia or Southeast Asia, according to the public safety advisory.
The CDC issued a warning advising people to avoid all non-essential travel to the Hubei Province of China, including Wuhan, according to its website.
The IU public safety advisory asked people to contact their primary care physician or the IU campus health center if they have traveled to Wuhan, have been in close contact with someone being monitored for coronavirus or has a case of coronavirus confirmed by a laboratory within the past 14 days.
“I’m hoping we’re not going to see a case, but we are taking the necessary precautions,” Rupp said.
She said because the flu and coronavirus have similar symptoms, students have come to the health center with the flu, thinking they may have coronavirus. Students can prevent the flu by receiving a flu shot from the health center.
The health center’s supply of flu shots is beginning to run low, Rupp said, and the remaining flu vaccinations are reserved for students. Students can come in without an appointment to receive their flu shot.