General FAQs

What is novel coronavirus?

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), commonly known as a coronavirus, is a virus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers this a serious public health concern, based on current information, the immediate health risk from a coronavirus to the general American public is considered low at this time. For additional information, visit the CDC website.

What are the symptoms?

Similar to the common cold and influenza, common symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The CDC believes that symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or up to 14 days after exposure.

How is it spread?

Coronavirus disease 2019 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets, which means to become infected, people generally must be within six feet of someone who is contagious and come into contact with these droplets. Symptoms of COVID-19 generally appear within two to 14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Reported cases have ranged from mild illness (similar to a common cold) to severe pneumonia that requires hospitalization.

Health experts are still learning the details about how this new coronavirus spreads. Other coronaviruses spread from an infected person to others through:

● The air by coughing and sneezing.

● Close personal contact, such as touching and shaking hands.

● Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose and eyes.

● In rare cases, contact with feces.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

● Fever

● Cough

● Difficulty breathing

How do I prevent getting the coronavirus?

How can I prevent it?
Currently, there are no vaccines available to prevent COVID-19 infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends typical infectious disease precautions, just as those used to prevent cold or flu:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your arm or a tissue.
  • Avoid exposure to others who are sick.
  • Stay home while you are ill (except to visit a healthcare professional) and avoid close contact with others.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

The CDC does not recommend the routine use of face masks by the general public to prevent respiratory illness and is not recommending their use at this time for the prevention of COVID-19.

What are recommended cleaning practices for surfaces that could harbor the coronavirus?

According to the CDC, "Community members can practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (i.e. tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks) with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product."

High-touch areas such as table or desktops, doorknobs, remote controls, counters, etc. should be disinfected at least daily. Most regular cleaners are effective against coronavirus if used as directed (including bleach and Lysol).

Cold, Flu or COVID-19?
What should I do if I feel ill?

If you have traveled to, or through a CDC Level 3 Warning country, we recommend anyone who develops a fever (temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) or symptoms of a respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, seek medical advice by calling your local health department. If you cannot reach your local health department, call ahead before going to the emergency room or doctor’s office to notify them in case of recent travel to countries or locations within the United States with elevated levels of COVID-19.

If you have these symptoms while on campus, contact the University Health Services at 330-672-2322 to speak to a nurse. If it is after hours, call the Kent State Nurse Line at 330-672-2326.

What is "social distancing" and “physical distancing” and why is it used?

Social distancing means decreasing interactions with others in order to slow or stop the spread of infectious diseases. This can mean not only staying inside to limit exposure to others, but also canceling events and other types of group gatherings in an effort to minimize exposure to an infectious agent. Physical distancing is making a concentrated effort to keep at least six feet of distance between individuals. Do keep in mind that if you do need to meet in groups, try to stay at least six feet get away from other individuals in order to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

What should I do if I’ve recently traveled to a country with coronavirus cases?

The university is following the CDC recommendations for travelers returning from countries with a CDC Level 3 Travel Notice:

Stay home for 14 days from the time you left an area with widespread, ongoing community spread (Level 3 Travel Health Notice countries) and practice social distancing.

Take these steps to monitor your health and practice social distancing:

  • Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.

  • Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work.

  • Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing.

  • Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.

  • Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).

If you get sick with fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher), cough, or have trouble breathing:

  • Seek medical care. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room.

  • Tell your doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms.

  • Avoid contact with others.

For additional questions on monitoring your health, contact your local public health officials (PDF).

How will coronavirus affect me if I am pregnant, breastfeeding or a parent?

According to the CDC, there is no current information from published scientific reports about susceptibility of pregnant women to COVID-19. Pregnant women experience immunologic and physiologic changes which might make them more susceptible to viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19.

The CDC says that there is no evidence that children are more susceptible to COVID-19. In fact, most confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported from China have occurred in adults. Infections in children have been reported, including in very young children.

For more information, the CDC has developed these fact sheets:

What should I do if I have been in contact with someone who tested positive?

We recommend anyone who believes they have been in close contact (within approximately 6 feet for a prolonged period of time) with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate and call your local health department or healthcare provider for further guidance. If you have had close contact with a person with COVID-19 and develop symptoms such as fever (temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit), cough or shortness of breath, seek medical advice by calling your local health department. If you cannot reach your local health department, call ahead before going to the emergency room or doctor’s office to notify them of recent contact with individuals who have tested positive for the virus.