Community Coronavirus Update Posted on January 30th, 2020 by

TO: The Gustavus Community
FROM: JoNes VanHecke, Vice President for Student Life and Heather Dale, Director of Health Service
SUBJECT: Coronavirus Precautions and Information
DATE: January 30, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff

We are writing today to inform you that Gustavus is actively monitoring the evolving 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) situation and working closely with experts and stakeholders on and off campus regarding response.

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of illness that presents very similar to influenza. Symptoms can range from mild to serious and include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

While there are currently no confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in the state of Minnesota, we want to encourage our community to take steps to avoid all contagious illness at this time of the year when there are other viruses (including influenza) causing illness. There is no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV, so the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Currently, the CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick (you are most contagious when you have a fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius).
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Get the influenza vaccine.

These are the everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC also has specific guidance for travelers.

To stay up to date on the latest recommendations about 2019-nCoV please visit the CDC website at:

Students, please feel free to share this communication with your parent(s) or guardian(s).


Heather Dale, PA-C
Director of Health Service and Assistant Dean of Students

JoNes VanHecke, PhD
Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students


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