Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause respiratory illnesses such as the common cold or more severe illnesses. The coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China had not been previously detected in humans or animals and much is still unknown about it. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).
It is important to take steps to prevent contracting or spreading disease. These include:
- Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve while coughing and sneezing
- Washing your hands with soap and water often and for at least 20 seconds
- Using an alcohol-based sanitizer on hands if soap and water are not available
- Avoiding touching your face
- Not sharing foods, utensils, e-cigarettes, etc.
- Cleaning commonly touched objects and surfaces regularly
- Staying home if you are symptomatic
- Practicing social distancing and adhering to stay-at-home orders
This year, it is especially important to get the flu vaccine as many of the symptoms of the flu (including fever and cough) are the same as those of the newly reported coronavirus. The flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of contracting the flu as well as mitigate its symptoms, recover faster, and curtail its spread. If you have not received a flu shot, please do so soon.
For people who think they may have been exposed to the new coronavirus, please be on the lookout for the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms following possible exposure to the flu virus or COVID-19, seek medical care as soon as possible.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms following possible exposure to the flu virus or COVID-19, seek medical care as soon as possible. Remember to call ahead and tell the health care provider’s office about your recent travel, symptoms, and concerns. Please also avoid contact with others and do not travel.
Students at home with symptoms should contact their local health care provider, making sure to call ahead and apprise the provider of symptoms and concerns. If a student is on campus with symptoms, they should contact student health services. A student who tests positive for COVID-19 and are physically on campus or in Rutgers facilities should contact student health services directly to report the case and seek guidance.
To make an appointment with Rutgers Student Health:
- Rutgers–New Brunswick
- Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
- Call 856-225-6005
- Visit the Campus Center, second floor
Rutgers Faculty and Staff
If you are returning from travel or were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, please contact the Occupational Health office below before returning to work. Employees who test positive for COVID-19 and are physically on campus or in Rutgers facilities should contact Occupational Health directly to report the case and seek guidance.
Occupational Health Offices by location:
- Rutgers–New Brunswick, Rutgers–Newark, and Rutgers–Camden: 848-932-8254
- Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) Newark: 973-972-2900
- RBHS New Brunswick/Piscataway: 848-445-0123 ext. 2
- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Faculty and Staff: 732-235-6559
The CDC has established the risk categories dependent on exposure to help guide optimal public health management of people following potential COVID-19 exposure.
People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19
The CDC reports that, based on early information, some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. This includes:
- Older adults
- People with serious chronic medical conditions such as
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
If you are at increased risk for COVID-19 complications due to age or a severe underlying medical condition, it is important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of exposure by following CDC guidelines including:
- Keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often
- Take every day precautions to keep space between yourself and others
- Avoid crowds when possible
- Have supplies, including extra medication, on hand
Learn more about at-risk populations and follow the full CDC guidelines for those individuals.
During these challenging times we also need to be sensitive and respectful in supporting other members of our community. Please remember that support and guidance services are always available to those in need through CAPS or UBHC. Additionally, students who have witnessed an act of bias should alert your school’s academic program administrator or student affairs coordinator so that we may formally investigate the incident.
Please know that the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff are our highest concern, and we will keep you informed as developments evolve.