Dear Rutgers Community Members,
I am writing to keep you abreast of the university’s work to address the concerns posed by the Wuhan coronavirus international epidemic.
While there are no suspected cases of coronavirus at Rutgers, and the CDC currently considers the spread of the virus within the United States to be of low-risk, Rutgers clinical providers and our student health services teams have already put measures into place to screen symptoms and establish safeguards in the event that a Rutgers community member is identified with the virus.
We remain in close contact with the New Jersey Department of Health (NJ DOH) and continue to monitor and assess the most up-to-date information and recommendations from the NJ DOH and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the current Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak.
Recently, the CDC has upgraded their travel guidance to issue a Warning Level 3 Travel Notice, which discourages non-essential travel to China at this time. These recommendations have been issued in response to the ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
For these reasons, Rutgers has decided to restrict student, faculty, and staff official or authorized travel to China – this includes travel for university business such as (but not limited to) teaching, study abroad, conferences, presentations, internships, research, recruiting, and athletic competitions.
Students whose studies may have been interrupted by the travel restrictions related to the Wuhan coronavirus should contact the Rutgers Global International Student & Scholar Services unit at 848-932-7015 with questions.
We have created a webpage (academichealth.rutgers.edu/coronavirus) where up-to-date information about the Wuhan coronavirus, our preparations, and general guidance is available to address concerns expressed by our students, faculty, staff and community members. Additionally, Rutgers New Jersey Poison Information and Education System is serving as the New Jersey Department of Health Coronavirus Call Center. Assistance is available in multiple languages 24 hours a day at 1-800-222-1222.
Though this is potentially a serious public health threat that we are watching very closely, I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone again about the very active flu season we are currently experiencing across the country and of the dangers the flu poses to our communities every year. If you have not received a flu shot, please do so soon. The more people vaccinated against the flu will mean fewer cases of influenza and less opportunity for confusion between its symptoms and those of the Wuhan coronavirus.
Lastly, please help prevent contracting or spreading viruses by observing and encouraging good habits such as: covering coughs and sneezes, washing your hands or using hand-sanitizer, and cleaning commonly touched surfaces regularly.
Wishing you good health.
Vicente Gracias, MD
Senior Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Vice President for Health Affairs, Rutgers University
Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Rutgers University