The university’s COVID-19 Task Force continues to monitor the coronavirus. View the latest updates here. 

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Coronavirus update for the Oglethorpe community, 3/4/20

Oglethorpe University is continuing to monitor developments with the COVID-19 (Corona) virus.

To date, two cases have been confirmed in Georgia, confined to a single family and related to travel to Milan, Italy. We are in close contact with our students travelling abroad and are monitoring their health and safety. As this is an evolving situation, please refer to the CDC and the Georgia Department of Public Health for the most up-to-date information. You may also call 1-866-PUB-HLTH (782-4584) or 404-657-2588.

If you are planning international travel, please be aware that travel advisories are rapidly changing. You can monitor the latest advisories at the U.S. Department of State, the CDC and the World Health Organization.

Precautions we are taking
As a precaution, we are sanitizing all common places and residence hall bathrooms (both common and suite based) this week while students are away for spring break. The university will continue regular cleaning and treatment of high-volume areas. Cleaning supplies will also be distributed and hand sanitizing stations will be kept full. Dining operations will continue cleaning protocols and they have stocked up on essential items in the event of any disruption to deliveries.

How the virus spreads
There is much misinformation circulating about this virus, so it is important to remember the fundamentals. COVID-19 is spread in large droplets by an infected individual coughing and sneezing. The only way for the virus to infect you is through your nose or mouth via your hands or an infected cough or sneeze onto or into your nose or mouth. This virus only has cell receptors for lung cells, meaning it only infects your lungs.

Symptoms of infected persons
The World Health Organization reports the most common symptoms are fever (88%) and dry cough (68%). Exhaustion (38%), expectoration of mucus when coughing (33%), shortness of breath (18%), sore throat (14%), headaches (14%), muscle aches (14%), chills (11%) are also common. Less frequent are nausea and vomiting (5%), stuffy nose (5%) and diarrhea (4%). Running nose is not a symptom of COVID-19.

Tips for prevention
1. Wash your hands with soap and water for minimum of 20 seconds (say the ABCs in your head).
2. Use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you finish ANY activity that involves locations where other people have been.
3. Keep a bottle of sanitizer available in your backpack, room and car.
4. Avoid handshaking– use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump, etc.
5. Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches and elevator buttons.
6. Open doors with your closed fist or hip – do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door.
7. Use disinfectant wipes when they are available to sanitize surfaces and frequently touched objects.
8. If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Sneeze into your elbow only if you have to- the virus will remain on your clothing and can be passed on.
9. Use zinc lozenges if you feel any cold-like symptoms as they have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx.
10. Stay home if you’re sick, especially with a fever.
11. Avoid people who are sick.

If you become ill
If you do become ill and experience symptoms, please stay home and contact your health provider. It is important to call ahead before visiting your doctor, urgent care or hospital emergency room. If you live on campus, please contact your R.A., Professional on call, or Campus Safety so they may help you make arrangements to be tested.

We will continue to monitor and send updates to the community. Please reach out if you have any questions or needs, to Michelle Hall, dean of students and vice president of campus life, at mhall@oglethorpe.edu.

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