Novel coronavirus update

Dear Campus Community,

The UIC leadership continues to monitor the activity of the 2019 novel coronavirus. We are sending this update to raise awareness and provide additional guidance to the university community about this emerging global health issue.

There have been five confirmed cases in the U.S. – including one in Illinois — that are all related to travel from Hubei Province, China, primarily the city of Wuhan.  Travel from this province was restricted last week.

The general health risk from 2019 novel coronavirus in both the U.S. and Chicago is deemed to be low, according to public health officials.

UIC, like many universities across the country, have students and faculty who regularly travel internationally. On Jan. 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated guidance recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China. For additional up-to-date information on the 2019 novel coronavirus, information for travelers, and frequently asked questions, visit the CDC website.

Additionally, we would like to address frequently asked questions from our campus community.

Q: I have read in the news that people may be contagious before they have any symptoms. Do I need to worry about being exposed to the 2019 novel coronavirus?

A: There is very little evidence to suggest that people can spread the virus when they have no symptoms. The CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) are continuing to evaluate this new virus and are taking measures to prevent transmission.

Q: What can I do to protect myself?

A: There are measures that you can take to protect yourself from any virus.  The greatest risk for the campus community is currently from influenza.

  • Get a flu shot if you have not gotten it yet.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze—remember to wash your hands afterward.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people. If you are sick, stay home from school or work for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.

Q: I have traveled from the Hubei Province, China, within the last 2 weeks. What should I do?

A: If you have traveled to this area and are ill, contact your health care provider and they will work with the Department of Public Health to facilitate care and testing. Ill employees and students should not report to work or class and should contact their personal health care provider.

Students should contact their health care provider or Student Health at University Village at 312-996-2901 for additional guidance.

Employees should contact University Health Service at 312-996-7420 during business hours or the University of Illinois Hospital at 866-600-CARE (2273) after hours.

If students, faculty or staff have traveled from Hubei Province, China, within the last two weeks and are not ill but have concerns about their health or exposure, we recommend they reach out to their health care provider who will work with the Department of Public Health to monitor for infection.

Q: I have just returned from China, but from an area outside the Hubei Province, China. What should I do?

A: Activity outside of Hubei Province is being monitored and updated regularly.  We recommend you contact your health care provider who can discuss the most up to date information and, if needed, contact the Department of Health.

For up to date information on 2019 novel coronavirus:

Q: Can I get screened for the 2019-novel coronavirus?

A: As recommended by the CDC, testing is only performed on individuals with symptoms of infection in collaboration with health care providers and the Department of Public Health. There is no screening test for individuals without any symptoms. If you have concerns about possible exposure to someone with the 2019 novel coronavirus we recommend you contact your health care provider for guidance.

Q: I am traveling to a country outside of China that has had a case of 2019 novel coronavirus. Should I cancel my trip?

A: Before traveling, please review CDC travel advisories and restrictions at


Robert Barish, MD
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs

John Coronado
Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services

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