University addresses coronavirus concerns

Local News

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Health officials held a news conference Tuesday morning in response to coronavirus concerns.

They stressed that doctors are on alert.

“We do not wait and never have waited for instructions on going forward and working with our local partners,” Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department administrator Julie Pryde said.

Officials said a person was examined at McKinley Health Center after experiencing possible symptoms of the virus, but doctors determined the person did not have coronavirus.

“[The person] did not have the fever level that was of concern, did not evolve at all,” McKinley Health Center director Robert Parker said. “They basically just had a cold with a little bit of a cough, so they never met the threshold.”

Officials have also reached out to any students with known connections to Wuhan, the heart of the outbreak. Nearly 150 students have connections to Wuhan, and dozens more to the Hubei province at large. The university has not distinguished yet whether students traveled or stayed in the U.S. over the break.

“If this issue evolves quickly, we may want to do something like that,” Parker said. “But we have not actually polled our students to find out who traveled and where they traveled.”

Some students didn’t travel over winter break. Others are not attending classes, are monitoring their symptoms or are wearing face masks.

WCIA checked with multiple stores, all of which were sold out of face masks. Parker said the student health center just ordered more from Amazon because their own supply is depleting as well.

The virus is typically spread by coughing or sneezing or contact with someone who is infected. It typically takes about 10-14 days for symptoms to emerge. Students have been back on campus for roughly seven days.

Health officials are urging people to get their flu shots if they haven’t done so already.

“You do not want your hospitals and clinics to be inundated with flu while we’re trying to deal with something else,” Pryde said.

More than 100 people have died in China from the virus. The CDC says five cases have been identified in the U.S., including a woman in Chicago.

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