FAQ: Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses found worldwide in both humans and other animal species. Most human coronaviruses cause mild to moderate respiratory symptoms, like the common cold, and resolve with no treatment. In rare cases, a coronavirus from an animal species can evolve to cause more severe disease in humans. International health experts now believe that 2019-nCoV belongs to this rare subset of more severe coronaviruses.

What are its symptoms?

Symptoms of coronavirus include fever (greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius) and difficulty breathing. These symptoms are nearly identical to influenza and so, unless a person has additional risk factors for coronavirus, flu remains the greater risk. Risk factors for coronavirus 2019-nCoV include travel from China within the past 14 days, or close contact with a person who has recently traveled from China.

Is there any risk to the RISD community?

There have been no suspected cases of coronavirus within the RISD community. The risk to the Rhode Island area remains low. We continue to comply with local and national health authorities to ensure the safety of our community.

Is there any risk to students traveling abroad?

There are currently no RISD travel courses in China. We continue to closely monitor the situation in all travel locations, including our campus in Rome. To date, two cases of 2019-nCoV have been identified in Italy, but these remain isolated cases linked directly with travel from Wuhan, China. We will continue to work closely with RISD Global to monitor this situation. In accordance with current CDC travel guidelines, we highly discourage RISD students from traveling to China at this time. If you plan to travel to China, please contact Health Services by phone (401-454-6625) or email.

I have recently traveled from China, what should I do?

If you have traveled from China in the past 14 days, please contact Health Services by phone (401-454-6625) or email for further instructions. If you are symptom-free, you may continue to attend classes.

I’m worried about someone who might be sick or exposed to the virus, what should I do?

Please know that common colds and flu continue to be the most likely cause of fever and respiratory illness in our community. If you are worried about someone who may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV, please encourage them to contact Health Services at 401-454-6625.

How will I know when new information is available?

RISD will continue to update this FAQ page as new or updated information becomes available. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact Health Services (401-454-6625 or health@risd.edu) or your personal healthcare provider.

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