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2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Vanderbilt University officials are actively monitoring the outbreak of the respiratory illness COVID-19 caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

There are no reports of cases involving coronavirus disease COVID-19 on the Vanderbilt campus, and there are no confirmed cases in Tennessee.

The university works closely with infection control experts at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and local and state public health officials, and follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to address infectious disease and other public health concerns on campus.

Updates for the Vanderbilt Community 

University Travel

Students: University travel to any country with a State Department “Do Not Travel” warning (Level 4) because of COVID-19 is not permitted.

Faculty, Staff and Postdocs: University travel to any country with a State Department “Do Not Travel” warning (Level 4) because of COVID-19 requires express pre-approval from the Provost or other Vice Chancellor.

The university also strongly recommends that everyone reconsider even personal travel to any country with a CDC level 3 or State Department level 4 advisory based on the novel coronavirus.

At present, this guidance applies to mainland China. However, the list of affected countries may change. We encourage you to monitor developments through the State Department and CDC websites.

What To Do if You Are Sick

The situation is rapidly evolving and recommendations from the CDC and the U.S. Department of State change daily. Members of the Vanderbilt community are encouraged to monitor the CDC and U.S. Department of State websites.

Those who believe they may have been exposed to or infected with the novel coronavirus should seek medical care right away. Before you go to a clinic, doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.

 Vanderbilt students should contact the Student Health Center, while faculty and staff should contact the Occupational Health Clinic for further evaluation.

The CDC has issued information regarding symptomsprevention and treatment, as well as a number of other frequently asked questions and answers.

 All Vanderbilt University Medical Center health care providers, including the Student Health Center, will assess patients for potential 2019-nCoV infection. Those with cough and fever will be asked for a travel history to determine if they are at risk for the newly identified coronavirus. Patients who respond “yes” to these questions will be masked to protect other patients as the cause of their illness is being evaluated.

Preventing Illness

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

Support for the Vanderbilt Community

Services are available to support mental health and wellbeing during this time.