About coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus is a type of virus that causes diseases ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory disease. The novel coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019 and has since resulted in thousands of confirmed cases in China, South Korea, Iran, Italy and other countries around the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that patients with the COVID-19 coronavirus have mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. Severe illness is more common in people with underlying health conditions and weakened immune systems and in older adults.

For updates on what is known about the virus, illness and public health issues, please follow this link to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updates specific to Sonoma County can be found at the Sonoma County Department of Health Services. A snapshot of global cases can be found at the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases website.


What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of the virus include: feeling sick with fever (temperature greater than 100.4 Fahrenheit), coughing and/or difficulty breathing. It may take up to 14 days for symptoms of the virus to appear. Most patients infected with COVID-19 experience mild to moderate symptoms, though some patients have experienced severe, even lethal symptoms. These more severe cases have been identified primarily in older patients or those with underlying medical conditions.

What should I do if I have symptoms of coronavirus?

Students who are feeling sick and have traveled to mainland China, South Korea, Japan, Italy or Iran since Feb. 3, 2020, or who have had close and frequent contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, should apply a face mask when around others and notify a member of the Student Health Center team by calling (707) 664-2921 before visiting the Student Health Center. Faculty and staff are encouraged to contact their primary care providers for support. 

If you have symptoms of influenza-like illness or other respiratory infections, please stay at home until you have contacted the Student Health Center (707) 664-2921 or your healthcare provider to seek medical attention as soon as you are able. If your symptoms are accompanied by a documented fever of greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, do not return to class or work until your fever is gone and your temperature is normal for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medications.

Additional information about the seasonal flu, including details about symptoms, the flu vaccine and healthy habits, is available from the California Department of Health.

How do I know if I am at risk for contracting coronavirus?

You may be at greater risk if you have recently traveled to regions where there are currently outbreaks of the virus, or if you have come into close contact with someone who has the virus. Symptoms typically appear within two to 14 days after exposure.

Why might someone blame or avoid individuals or groups (create stigma) because of COVID-19?

People may be worried or anxious about friends and relatives who are living in or visiting areas where COVID-19 is spreading. Some people are worried about the disease. Fear and anxiety can lead to social stigma, for example, towards Chinese or other people who were in quarantine.

Stigma is discrimination against an identifiable group of people, a place, or a nation. Stigma is associated with a lack of knowledge about how COVID-19 spreads, a need to blame someone, fears about disease and death, and gossip that spreads rumors and myths.

Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem.  People can fight stigma and help, not hurt, others by providing social support. Counter stigma by learning and sharing facts. Communicating the facts that viruses do not target specific racial or ethnic groups and how COVID-19 actually spreads can help stop stigma.