Novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing COVID-19, is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulates among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
It may also be possible to become infected with COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or possibly your eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing have been reported in people infected with COVID-19. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
Call your healthcare provider if you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.
Your healthcare provider will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
Contact your healthcare provider to determine if you are at risk and need to be tested.
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure to viruses, including the coronavirus. Everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• 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 using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
Proper handwashing technique is essential to prevent the spread of infection.
• If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
It is not yet known whether weather and temperature impact the spread of COVID-19. Other viruses, like the common cold and flu, spread more during cold weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months.
It is not currently known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when weather becomes warmer. Investigations are ongoing to learn more about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19.
There have been no self-reported cases of COVID-19 among the NEC student community. We fully expect that members of our community will be affected by the virus as the numbers of cases continue to rise in Massachusetts and across the nation, and as rapid test kits become more available to the public.
We stand ready to assist members of the NEC student community who have confirmed COVID-19 infection and who may be in need of assistance when isolated and convalescing. Please reach out to Leah McKinnon-Howe, Director of Health Services, at email@example.com if you have questions or require assistance. As always, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency facility if you are experiencing a medical or mental health emergency and do not send email messages that require an urgent response.