Novel Coronavirus Update: A message from Dr. Paul Genecin

January 28, 2020

To:  All Students, faculty and staff

On Sunday, I wrote to inform you that a high school student from China who participated in the annual Yale Model United Nations conference exhibited fever and cough and was evaluated in the Yale-New Haven Hospital Emergency Department over the weekend. A test was ordered to rule out infection with the novel coronavirus (abbreviated 2019-nCoV). The result is not yet back from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I will notify the community as soon as the result is available.

CDC Travel Advisory:
Yesterday, the CDC issued a travel notice recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China because of the 2019-nCoV epidemic. You can read the entire advisory at:
https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-china?smid=nytcore-ios-share.

The salient points in this new travel advisory are:

  • 2019-nCoV causes a respiratory illness with fever and cough. Some people experience more serious illness with pneumonia and respiratory failure, and fatalities have been reported. There is active transmission from person to person reported in China.
  • As a result, China has closed transport within and out of Wuhan and other cities in the Hubei province.
  • The public health situation in China is rapidly evolving with new cases reported in other Chinese cities.
  • There is limited medical care available in affected areas.
  • Air travelers arriving in the U.S. from China are being screened for signs of illness such as cough, fever and difficulty breathing.
  • If you have been in China in the last 14 days and are experiencing illness with cough, fever or difficulty with breathing, you should:
    • Call your doctor’s office or an emergency room to report your symptoms and seek advice. Do not go to a clinic for care prior to calling.
      • If you are a Yale student or Yale Health member, you should contact Internal Medicine (203-432-0038), Student Health (203-432-0312) or Pediatrics (203-432-0206) from 8:30am to 5pm. For urgent attention 24x7, please call Yale Health Acute Care: 203-432-0123.
      • If you are an Aetna member or have other healthcare coverage, please contact your physician.

If you must travel to China:

  • In light of the CDC advice and US State Department warnings, you are urged to evaluate your travel plans and consider delaying travel to a later date.
  • Contact your healthcare provider to discuss your travel plans, bearing in mind that older adults and those with chronic health problems may have a higher risk of complications in 2019-nCoV infection.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid animals whether dead or alive, including animal markets and animal products such as raw meat.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. 

A note about influenza:

We are now nearing the peak of seasonal influenza (flu). Influenza and 2019-nCoV infections have similar symptoms including fever, cough, congestion and shortness of breath. At this time, influenza poses a greater risk to our community than coronavirus. While there is no vaccine for coronavirus infection, the influenza vaccine is readily available, safe and effective. Public health authorities strongly advise unimmunized members of the community to get the flu shot. In addition to preventing or mitigating the severity of flu, this vaccine will simplify the evaluation of patients with flu-like symptoms in the event that we begin to see cases of 2019-nCoV in our community.

Members of the Yale community can obtain the influenza vaccine free of charge at the Yale Health Center at 55 Lock Street daily from Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Please check the Yale Health website (https://yalehealth.yale.edu/) for updated information about 2019-nCoV. I draw your attention to newly posted FAQ’s.  You may also wish to check the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) websites for more information about the novel coronavirus outbreak:  

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
WHO: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019