What is COVID-19?
On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”.
What is novel coronavirus?
On February 11, 2020, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, charged with naming new viruses, named the novel coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan, China, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, shortened to SARS-CoV-2.
As the name indicates, the virus is related to the SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) that caused an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003, however it is not the same virus.
Is there more than one type of coronavirus?
Yes, there are 7 types of human coronavirus. Common human coronaviruses, including types 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1, usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Most people get infected with one or more of these viruses at some point in their lives. This information applies to common human coronaviruses and should not be confused with SARS-CoV2 which causes COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019).
Am I at risk?
If you have questions about how to protect yourself and prepare for COVID-19 in your community, the Ohio Department of Health (OHD) can provide answers.
The ODH coronavirus disease 2019 call center can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH. ODH staffers operate the center seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, including weekends.
Call center staff includes licensed nurses and infectious disease experts. They are available to answer questions and provide accurate information about COVID-19, the risk to the public, and the state’s response.
How can I prevent it?
There are no vaccines to prevent COVID-19. The best preventive steps for any communicable disease include simple but important measures to practice as part of your daily routine, especially during flu season:
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water. If unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home while you are sick (except to visit a health care professional) and avoid close contact with others.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.
Also, clean high-touch areas – counters, tables, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, nightstands – every day using household cleaning spray or wipes according to label directions.
What is NEOMED doing to prepare in the event pandemic occurs?
NEOMED‘s Incident Management Team which has protocols in place for emergency planning and response, including pandemic preparedness, has been in constant communication and has met to ensure guidelines are up-to-date for this most recent public health concern. A well-respected University virologist advises the team’s preparedness.
Is the University equipped to provide services in the event of an outbreak?
- The university follows the strict guidelines of the CDC and works closely with the Ohio Department of Health. NEOMED is also a member of the Joint Information Center (JIC), an efficient and well-planned way to prepare for and respond to public health and safety concerns.
- Designated Information Officers at several community agencies work together to ensure we are communicating effectively between agencies and with the public about Coronavirus. This group also ensures that local residents, families, students, health care providers, and first responders have the most up-to-date information about Coronavirus.
- The JIC includes: Portage County Health District, Kent City Health Department, Kent State University, Hiram College, NEOMED, Portage County Emergency Management Agency, UH Portage Medical Center, AxessPointe, and local school systems.
How do “self-monitoring,” “quarantine,” and “isolation” differ?
The CDC has defines “monitoring” with several different levels. See more at gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/risk-assessment.html.
- self-monitoring: means people should monitor themselves for fever by taking their temperatures twice a day and remain alert for cough or difficulty breathing. If they feel feverish or develop measured fever, cough, or difficulty breathing during the self-monitoring period, they should self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a health care provider or their local health department to determine whether medical evaluation is needed.
- quarantine: in general means the separation of a person or group of people reasonably believed to have been exposed to a communicable disease but not yet symptomatic from others who have not been so exposed, to prevent the possible spread of the communicable disease.
- isolation: means the separation of a person or group of people known or reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease and potentially infectious from those who are not infected to prevent spread of the communicable disease. Isolation for public health purposes may be voluntary or compelled by federal, state, or local public health order.
Who can I contact with more questions?
- Any health-related questions should be directed to your care provider and your local health department.
- Any questions related to academics should be directed to Academic Affairs at 330.325.6258.
- NEOMED students and parents/guardians with additional questions may call Student Affairs at 330.325.6759.
- NEOMED staff and faculty with work-related questions may call Human Resources at 330.325.6729.
- Building/facilities-related questions should be directed to Operations at 330.325.6191
- Public safety questions should be directed to Public Safety at 330.325.6492
COVID-19 Self-Reporting of Travel or Exposure
- Effective immediately and until further notice, the University has suspended all university-sponsored international travel and non-essential domestic travel. Do not book any new travel between now and June 30, 2020.
- Travelers returning from countries with widespread or ongoing community spread (according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control’s Level 3 Travel Notice) must be screened in accordance with CDC guidelines prior returning to campus.
- Members of the NEOMED community and all visitors returning from traveling internationally must report to COVIDReporting@neomed.edu under the following circumstances:
- If you have returned from or traveled from any country, or taken a cruise in the last 14 days.
- If you have returned from or traveled from any state designated as part of Ohio’s Travel Advisory.
- If you have had contact with anyone who has been confirmed by laboratory testing to have COVID-19 or anyone who is currently being tested.
- If you are being actively monitored or observed by any local, county, state or federal public health agency due to risk of SARS-CoV2 which causes COVID-19.
All reports of travel should include name, location of travel, modality of travel, and cell phone number.
Members of the NEOMED community and all visitors are strongly encouraged to report to COVIDReporting@neomed.edu under the following circumstances:
- If you have been on the Rootstown campus in the preceding 14 days and are currently being tested for or have tested positive for COVID-19. This information will be maintained as confidential as practicable.
Please provide your name, relevant details and a contact number.
I’ve been self-quarantined or isolated due to COVID-19 exposure, when can I return to the NEOMED Campus?
Per CDC guidelines, persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation and be cleared for a return to campus under the following conditions:
- At least 10 days* have passed since symptom onset
- At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
- Other symptoms have improved.
Note: *A limited number of persons with severe illness may produce replication-competent virus beyond 10 days, that may warrant extending duration of isolation for up to 20 days after symptom onset.
Persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 who never develop COVID-19 symptoms may discontinue isolation 10 days after the date of their first positive RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 RNA.
Employees/students with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will be asked to self-isolate until all of the following are met:
- 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
- 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
- COVID-19 symptoms have improved (for example, cough, shortness of breath)
Any individual placed on a 14-day “stay-at-home” requirement due to close contact with a tested (+) or presumed COVID (+) individual must meet the following criteria:
- No symptoms were developed during the 14-day incubation period. The person may return to work on the next workday following the 14-day incubation period.
- Should symptoms consistent with COVID-19 develop during this incubation period, you will be subject to the criteria listed above for tested (+) and presumed (+) individuals.