Dear DePauw Community,
There are many questions about coronavirus in our community. DePauw administration and emergency planning teams are working diligently to keep our community safe. To that extent, please review the following information to help you and your family follow best practices in avoiding coronavirus infection or dealing with concerns if you are ill.
There are currently no confirmed cases on campus. However, there are confirmed cases in the state of Indiana and in multiple counties. The first case was confirmed March 6, 2020.
It is transmitted by respiratory droplets from coughing.
The clinical symptoms of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, include:
- Fever (temperature of 100.4 F or 38 C)
- Shortness of Breath
Q: Is there a test for coronavirus?
A: Yes, however, the test is best obtained through state health departments and the CDC for those individuals meeting clinical AND epidemiological criteria for testing.
Q: Who should be tested?
A: Individuals with fever, cough, or shortness of breath AND a history of travel to a country with a CDC level 2 or 3 travel advisory or exposure to a known COVID-19 confirmed case. If you do not meet both clinical and exposure criteria, you do not need COVID-19 testing. If you feel you meet criteria, you are advised to call your health care provider for instructions on what to do before going to their location. DePauw Health phone 765-658-4555 or after hours care information is located at https://depauwhealth.org/after-hours-care/.
Q: What if I have a fever >100.4, cough and shortness of breath but no exposure through travel or exposure
A: Colds and influenza are still prevalent in our community and can cause similar symptoms to COVID-19. Please call your health care provider for advice and an appointment.
Q: What can I do to avoid getting sick?
A: The best way to stay healthy is with the following practices:
- Use elbow or fist bump for greetings. Avoid handshaking.
- Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, and before eating.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hand and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick or symptomatic
- Take steps to protect others
- Stay home if you’re sick
- Put distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
Q: What is the treatment for anyone infected with COVID-19?
A: There is no vaccine yet available. Those with mild symptoms may be directed to self-quarantine with home care instructions. Those with severe symptoms will need evaluation and treatment in a hospital setting.
Q: Who is at risk if they get COVID-19?
A: Young, healthy individuals generally experience mild infection. Individuals at higher risk include:
- Older adults
- People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
Q: Why has it taken so long for them to understand what this virus is doing/ for us to start taking serious precautions?
A: This is a novel or new virus to which no one has immunity. The information we do know about this virus (causing COVID-19) was gathered more quickly than ever before: the type of virus, its sequence, basic scientific stuff. But to know about how easily it is transmitted or how likely it is to make you sick, we have to wait and see. The CDC and WHO are conducting COVID-19 research in multiple countries.
Q: Can I catch the virus from touching a desk that an infected student touched last class?
A: This virus does not seem to have a significant risk of infecting people through surfaces. However, cleaning high contact surfaces frequently and using hand sanitizer is encouraged.
Q: Why are colleges and universities responding differently.
A: Colleges and Universities are following CDC and WHO recommendations and are making decisions based on our community needs which are different than for universities in larger cities. Our goal is to prevent transmission of the virus, especially for those most at risk.