SMU has been closely monitoring the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) that began in China and has now sparked outbreaks around the world. This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned that it expects the coronavirus to begin spreading at a community level in the United States.
The Texas Department of Health advises that the risk for all Texans still remains low. SMU is in regular contact with Dallas County Health and Human Services to monitor this situation and prepare for the possibility of confirmed cases in North Texas. The University is prepared to implement and follow protocols and guidelines directed by health authorities if necessary.
People who think they may have been exposed to coronavirus are advised to seek medical care. Please call ahead to alert the facility if you are experiencing fever with or without respiratory symptoms. According to the CDC, reported cases have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may include fever, coughing and shortness of breath and appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure.
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus is thought to spread mainly from person to person via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Therefore, the best action you can take to protect yourself and others from getting and spreading the virus is to follow the same precautions suggested for the prevention of the flu and other respiratory illnesses.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick and avoid contact with others until you have no fever.
No reported cases of the illness have any known connection to SMU. Our Student Health Services is closely following the updates and recommendations of the CDC and Dallas County Health District in watching for symptoms of the illness. The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students experiencing symptoms of respiratory infection are encouraged to contact the Health Center at 214-768-2141, while faculty and staff should contact individual health providers or an urgent care facility. Students can also find a listing of nearby urgent care facilities with extended hours here.
The coronavirus outbreak is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation. SMU will provide updated information and guidance as it becomes available on this website.