Syracuse University

01/25/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/25/2020 12:18

Important Information About Coronavirus from Syracuse University Medical Director Dr. Karen Nardella

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Syracuse University is actively monitoring the developments related to the newly detected coronavirus, an illness first discovered in Wuhan City, China, that is similar to pneumonia, affecting the respiratory system.

At this time, there are no reported cases in Onondaga County. However, since my last communication on Wednesday, Jan. 22, two cases have been confirmed in the United States. The confirmed cases are in Washington state and Illinois; there are also dozens of suspected cases across the United States, including a handful here in New York state awaiting laboratory confirmation.

Our staff in the Barnes Center at The Arch is communicating regularly with the Onondaga County Health Department and the New York State Department of Health as we continue to monitor and assess this rapidly evolving situation. Yesterday, several staff members participated in a briefing with New York State Department of Health officials who reported steps being taken to prevent the spread of the virus, including:

  1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring this situation and is working with the World Health Organization (WHO).
  2. The U.S. State Department has issued its highest travel advisory-a Level 4-advising U.S. citizens not to travel to the Chinese province of Hubei, home to Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
  3. The CDC is performing enhanced health screenings at several U.S. airports where flights arrive directly from Wuhan, China, including San Francisco, New York's JFK Airport, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago.

Because this is a relatively novel virus, our focus at this time is educating our community about prevention, detection and treatment. Please review the following information closely to learn more about the virus.

Who is at risk?

  • those who have been in Wuhan City, China, in the last 14 days
  • those who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus via diagnostic testing

What are the symptoms?

According to the CDC, symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 after exposure. The most common symptoms are:

  • fever
  • shortness of breath
  • cough

How is the virus spread?

It is spread from person to person through saliva or through droplets in the air when someone coughs or sneezes.

How can I protect myself?

  • 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 with people who are sick.
  • 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.

How is this new virus treated?

Like with any viral illness, treatment includes rest and drinking plenty of fluids. A room humidifier may help to ease the cough or sore throat, and over-the-counter pain or fever medications can relieve symptoms.

Who should I contact if I think I may have come into contact with someone with the virus or have symptoms?

If you have been to Wuhan recently or have had close contact with someone who contracted the virus and you exhibit any of the symptoms, please contact the Barnes Center at The Arch (315.443.8000) if you are a student; we urge you to first call the Barnes Center and wear a mask before entering the facility. Faculty and staff are encouraged to contact their primary care physician.

To learn more about the coronavirus, visit To review additional prevention methods, visit Finally, to read more about travel guidance, visit

We will continue to keep our community up to date on any new developments. Please do not hesitate to contact the Barnes Center at The Arch at 315.443.8000 with additional questions.

Dr. Karen Nardella, Medical Director
Barnes Center at The Arch