Coronavirus

Minghung Yu, a 30-year-old UF computer science master’s student (left), and Li Xiaobai, a 25-year-old UF computer science master’s student (right), wear face masks while studying in Marston Library Jan. 28, 2020, as an extra precaution against the new coronavirus. The two heard rumors that a parent traveled from Wuhan to Gainesville before the quarantine took effect.

UF doesn’t know of anyone who has traveled from China, but just in case, the university is asking them to self-quarantine to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Those who traveled from the Hubei Province of China must self-quarantine themselves for 14 days, according to a UF email sent to the university community Tuesday. Those who traveled to other parts of mainland China will be monitored. 

Symptoms of coronavirus, which can cause upper-respiratory illnesses such as the common cold, include fever, cough and shortness of breath. There are currently 14 confirmed cases of coronavirus in U.S. with none reported in Florida, according to the New York Times.  

Those who have symptoms and have had contact with someone in China or those who have returned from China should contact UF Health Shands Infection Control. Those who do not have symptoms are being asked to self-quarantine themselves in their residence, UF spokesperson Steve Orlando wrote in an email.

Orlando said the university isn’t aware of students in China, and not all students who travel abroad register with the UF International Center.

The Alligator contacted representatives from UF Health and Ron Barry, the interim director of the Student Health Care Center, and was told by employees of the center that UF instructed them to only have reporters speak to Orlando about coronavirus updates. Despite numerous attempts to contact UF Health, they could not be reached for comment at the time of publication. 

Students who live in village apartments on campus, like graduate student housing, are asked to quarantine themselves in their apartments, Orlando wrote. Those with shared facilities or traditional dorms will be accommodated for free in a self-contained apartment.

People returning to class after the self-quarantine are being asked to contact the Student Health Care Center to schedule a check-up appointment, Orlando wrote.

Students who are self-quarantined are encouraged to reach out to faculty members about missed work, the email read, also saying that the faculty will work with students to ensure no penalty for missing classes because of illness.

Contact Stephany Matat at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @StephanyMatat.