2019 Coronavirus Disease image of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The 2019 novel coronavirus is a newly identified respiratory virus that can cause mild to severe respiratory illness, now being referred to as COVID-19. 

This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak of unusual pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. The outbreak has since spread to other international locations, including the United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is aggressively responding to the global outbreak of COVID-19 and preparing for the potential of community spread in the U.S.

The latest situation summary and updates are available on CDC’s website.

What is Pat Walker Health Center Doing in Response to COVID-19?

Pat Walker Health Center is coordinating with the Arkansas Department of Health, UAPD, Division of Student Affairs, Graduate School and International Education, and other university stakeholders to ensure students — both abroad and on the Fayeteville-campus — are informed, prepared and supported  throughout this evolving public health crisis. 

Although the current risk to the Fayetteville campus is low, the CDC is encouraging Americans to be prepared for the possibility of local community transmission. 

The health center has also implemented additional screening for recent international travelers, per CDC and ADH reccomendations.

This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and the health center will provide updated health-related information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance. 

For the most up-to-date information about how COVID-19 is impacting students abroad, see the Graduate School and International Education website

What You Need to Know

The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus — now being referred to as COVID-19 — was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China, and has spread to other international locations, including the United States

Public health officials are working to identify the source of the 2019-nCoV. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats.

Coronaviruses that infect people can cause mild respiratory disease, such as the common cold; however, some can cause severe illness, like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The complete clinical picture of 2019-nCoV is still not fully clear, with reported illnesses having ranged from infected people with little-to-no symptoms, to people becoming severely ill and dying.

The exact way the virus is spread is not fully known. And, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably 2019-nCoV is spreading between people.

With similar coronaviruses, person-to-person spread is thought to have happened mainly by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes — similar to how influenza and other viruses cause respiratory illness to spread.

Transmission may also occur when a person touches a surface or object that has virus on it and then touches his or her own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

Because this is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, new information about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with 2019-nCoV and investigations are ongoing.

Coronavirus symptoms — like other respiratory illnesses — may include fever, muscle or body aches, sore throat and cough, fatigue, headaches and difficulty breathing. 

If you are sick with a respiratory illness, keep from spreading it to others:

  • 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.
  • Do not share food, drinks, vaping devices or anything that can spread the virus to others.

If you were in an area with sustain community transmission within the past 14 days and experience these symptoms, contact your health care provider before entering the facility.

There is no specific treatment for 2019-noCoV other than supportive care for symptoms.

Although a very serious public health threat, the CDC believes the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV to the general U.S. public is considered low.

There is currently no vaccine to protect against 2019-nCoV. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus

Public health officials recommend everyone follow basic prevention guidelines to avoid spreading and contracting respiratory illnesses:

  • Try to get sufficient sleep, exercise regularly, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.
  • Keep your hands clean and wash them frequently with soap and water. Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer and use it when you cannot wash your hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve. When you use a tissue, throw it in the trash immediately. Do not use a handkerchief.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Do not share cups, straws, or anything else you put in your mouth (especially vaping devices).
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Disinfect surfaces that can be contaminated such as desks, phones, doorknobs, keyboards, etc.

In response to the growing public health threat, airlines have suspended flights to China for the time being.

The U.S. government has also imposed travel restrictions and screening and quarintine requirements for U.S. Citizens, as well as suspending entry for foreign-born persons who have been in China within the past 14 days.  

Follow the CDC’s travel health notices or the U.S. State Department Travel Advisories.

Travelers Arriving to Campus from China

A recent proclamation from the White House impacts those traveling from China and their entry into the United States including the potential of self-isolation or quarantine, depending on point of origin, symptoms of illness and potential exposure to the virus. 

The Arkansas Department of Health has developed a procedure for identifying travelers who are affected by this proclamation and is assuming responsibility for isolating students, faculty and/or staff arriving from China.

Currently, incoming U.S. flights from China are being routed to one of 11 airports, including Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. All passengers will be screened upon arrival, and the ADH has been informed that state health departments will get daily notifications from the CDC with the names of travelers from China.

To assist with this process, the ADH has asked the university to notify them of travelers arriving to campus from China. 

ADH will interview travelers and make a case-by-case determination of risk. They will discuss incubation period, symptoms to watch for, temperature monitoring, and develop a plan of action (should symptoms develop) including self-isolation. They will also discuss what to do if they have an unrelated medical emergency and how to obtain food and other services.

For questions or concerns regarding incoming scholars or staff from China (or other geographic areas of concern), contact ADH Outbreak Response Section 501-537-8969.


University Experts Speak at Coronavirus Panel Discussion

On Feb. 4, 2020,the Arkansas Humanities Center hosted a panel discussion with experts from the fields of medicine, public health, Chinese history and the history of medicine at the University of Arkansas. Panelts provided a detailed overview about the ongoing  coronavirus outbreak in China and how it could

Page Last Updated: Feb. 28, 2020