Health, wellness and prevention

COVID-19 is a newly identified coronavirus that is causing an outbreak of pneumonia illness. It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:

  • It is newly identified, so much is still unknown about it.
  • Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, have caused severe illness.

The CDC considers COVID-19 a public health concern based on current information. The CDC has identified the following as at higher risk for serious illness with COVID-19:

  • Older adults.
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease.
    • Diabetes.
    • Lung disease.

The chart below can help you assess your risk of COVID-19 and recommended next steps.

COVID-19 Know Your Risk If you have no symptoms... HIGH (self-quarantine & monitor): Had prolonged close contact with someone positive for COVID-19 | MEDIUM (self-quarantine & monitor): Traveled internationally to a country under CDC Level 3 | MEDIUM (self-observation): Traveled domestically to an area with known community-spread | LOW (self-observation): Spent time indoors (no close contact) with someone positive for COVID-19

** If you develop fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, contact your healthcare provider and self-isolate.

Definitions:
CDC Level 3: Countries with a CDC level 3 travel warning due to COVID-19.
Self-Quarantine & Monitor: Stay home for 14 days and monitor your health. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and watch for symptoms. Contact health provider is symptoms develop.
Self-Monitor: Monitor your health. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and watch for symptoms. Contact health provider is symptoms develop.
Self-Observation: Remain alert for subjective fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. Continue daily operations.

CDC offers additional detail on risk assessment here.

Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Chills.
  • Headache.
  • Sore throat.
  •  Muscle pain.
  • Loss of taste or smell.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people. More information on how the virus spreads is available from the CDC.

Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People infected with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. (source: CDC)

There is not a vaccine although research that could lead to a vaccine is moving ahead quickly.

There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to COVID-19.

Here are everyday actions to help prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses:

  • Practice social distancing of 6 feet.
  • Wash 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, especially with those who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering their nose and mouth in the community setting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is does it mean to self-quarantine or self-isolate?

Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.

  • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Should I self-quarantine, self-isolate or practice self-observation?

If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider and self-isolate. The CDC offers the following guidance on how to self-isolate: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html.

If you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should self-quarantine for 14 days.The CDC offers the following guidance on how to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html.

CDC recommends anyone returning from countries with a CDC Level 3 Travel Warning self-quarantine for 14 days from your last day in that country. The self-quarantine recommendation currently does not apply in general to travelers who only transit through an airport in one of these countries. Self-monitor for the development of any symptoms, and call your healthcare provider right away if you develop symptoms.

Those returning from domestic travel in areas with sustained community transmission of COVID-19 are encouraged to practice self-observation for the development of any symptoms, and call your healthcare provider right away if you develop a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Symptoms may be flu-like, ranging from mild to serious, and include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Difficulty breathing.

How do I self-quarantine?

To self-quarantine, you should:

  • Stay home.
  • Separate yourself from other people in your home. Avoid visitors to your home.
  • Self-monitor for fever by checking temperature at least twice a day. Contact your healthcare provider if you develop a fever or respiratory symptoms.
  • When seeking medical care, call ahead and tell them about your symptoms before heading to the doctor’s office or the emergency room.
  • Do not use public transport like buses or taxis.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and immediately throw the tissue in the trash and clean hands with sanitizer.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently used objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

I am a student who is practicing self-quarantine, who should I contact to make arrangements to miss class and other obligations?

Students that are practicing self-quarantine can contact the Dean of Students Office for assistance with academics and classes, work, participation in campus organizations or requirements, and to discuss other considerations. Email deanofstudents@umich.edu or call 734-764-7420. Student Life also is working to make alternative housing arrangements on campus for students who need a place to self-quarantine.

What if my roommate is practicing self-quarantine, what should I do?

Students with roommates who are practicing self-quarantine should take precautionary measures including limiting contact with anyone who under quarantine, cleaning surfaces, washing hands frequently, and avoiding sharing utensils. Students can contact the Dean of Students office (deanofstudents@umich.edu or call 734-764-7420) for further assistance.

I am an employee who is  practicing self-quarantine, who should I contact to make arrangements to miss work?

Employees with questions about working arrangements during self-quarantine should contact their unit supervisor. For more information, see this FAQ from Human Resources: https://hr.umich.edu/2019-novel-coronavirus

If you have been in prolonged close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should self-quarantine for 14 days. The CDC offers the following guidance on how to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19.

If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider and self-isolate. The CDC offers the following guidance on how to self-isolate.

Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19.

The CDC recommends that if you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 or you are a resident in a community where there is ongoing spread of COVID-19 and develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure. They will decide whether you need to be tested, but keep in mind that there is no treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html

Michigan Medicine has opened a hotline for established adult Michigan Medicine patients with questions about symptoms, home management, whether medical treatment is required and what specific steps they should follow to receive care or testing.

The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, only for patients and employees of Michigan Medicine. Call 734-763-6336.

Last updated: April 27, 2020 11:28am