Protecting Yourself against the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

April 2020 Safety Topic

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness (which affects breathing) caused by a new coronavirus. Symptoms can range from mild, such as a sore throat, to severe, such as pneumonia. Most people will not need medical attention for their symptoms.  However, the disease is highly contagious and certain precautions need to be taken in order prevent transmission.

Community transmission means that COVID-19 is circulating, and that we should act as if we are all exposed. If you are sick, you must stay home. All CUIMC personnel must monitor their health carefully at this time.

How does COVID-19 spread?

  • The virus can spread to people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) with an infected person when that person coughs or sneezes.
  • Scientists disagree on how long COVID-19 lives on surfaces, but it can live on surfaces people frequently touch. The virus can then spread if someone touches their eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Public health officials are still learning about the virus that causes COVID-19, but it is believed that people who are experiencing symptoms (coughing and sneezing) are most likely to transmit the virus to others.

Who is most at risk for COVID-19?

  • People who are at most risk for severe illness are people who are over 50 years old or who have other health conditions, including chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer or a weakened immune system.
  • People with regular close contact with someone who has or could have COVID-19 are also at higher risk. This includes people who live in the same home, caretakers who work in the home or sexual partners.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

  • Fever (temperature over 100.4 degrees F or 38 degrees C)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath (difficulty breathing)
  • Sore throat

If you have any of these symptoms, and they are not due to a preexisting health condition like asthma or emphysema, you may have COVID-19 and you must stay home.

For more information or questions about the Coronavirus, please speak with your supervisor or contact the Campus Life Safety and Regulatory Compliance team.