Update March 23, 11:00 a.m.: Oregon Governor Kate Brown calls for Oregonians to stay home, closing specific retail businesses and requiring social distancing in most cases. The executive order took immediate effect on March 23, 2020. We are currently reviewing information on this page to ensure it is consistent with the order.
The University Health Center is an integral part of the University of Oregon’s response to the novel coronavirus. Our clinical team members are equipped to screen for and respond to potential COVID-19 cases. We have implemented protocols for screening patients with respiratory illness and stepped up the infection prevention program in the building. We work in close alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Oregon Health Authority (OHA), and Lane Country Public Health to stay abreast of the latest news, best practices, and guidelines.
About the Novel Coronavirus
Novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a mild to severe respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus named “SARS-CoV-2.” While there are many existing coronaviruses, this particular virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Since then, it has spread around the world, including to the U.S. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath and may appear 2–14 days after exposure. Information suggests that older people and those with certain underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes, for example, seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.
“Things feel different in the world right now, but what hasn’t changed is that we are a community. In these uncertain times, we want to let you know we are still here, and we will get through this together.”
—Executive Director Deb Beck
Sick Students: What to Do
There are many illnesses that cause fevers, cough, and shortness of breath, which also are symptoms of COVID-19. Because of this, it can be hard to know when to seek care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises us to be concerned about individuals who have the following symptoms and risk factors:
- Fever of 100.4 and above and/or signs/symptoms of a lower respiratory illness (e.g., cough or shortness of breath) AND
- A history of travel from affected geographic areas (China, Iran, Italy, Japan, or South Korea) within 14 days of symptom onset OR
- Close contact with a person known to have COVID-19
The University Health Center encourages any student who may be concerned that they have any of these symptoms or risk factors, or if they are experiencing any unusual symptoms, to call the University Health Center at 541-346-2770 before visiting. Our clinical team members will assess the student’s illness, provide care instructions, and inform students what to expect once they arrive, if a visit to the University Health Center is deemed necessary.
If You Start Feeling Sick
- Stay home. If you must be around other people, try to stay six feet away from them and wear a mask until you are at least 24 hours without any symptoms.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue, use the crook of your elbow.
- Do not go to class. Be sure to notify your instructor, however, that you are sick and find out what you need to do to keep up with your classwork.
- Monitor your symptoms, including taking your temperature when you are feeling sick. A fever is defined as any temperature above 100.4°F or 38°C.
- If your symptoms are mild (runny nose, sinus congestion, low grade sore throat, low grade body aches, intermittent cough but otherwise OK) you do not need to seek medical advice.
- If your symptoms are significant or start to worsen (spiking fevers, worsening cough, shortness of breath) call the Health Center. You can call us 24 hours a day and we can help you work through what to do. If you need to come in, our hours are available on our homepage.
Take Charge of Your Health
It’s important that students be active participants in their health. These everyday preventive actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Close contact means within six feet of a sick person. If you must be around a sick person, put on a mask to prevent touching your nose and mouth until you can wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. This is the way many viruses (including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19) enter your body and cause infection.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or wipe. The Environmental Protection Agency has published a list of cleaning products for use against the novel coronavirus.
- Get educated. It is important that you get accurate information from trusted sources, as misinformation can easily spread when a community is under stress. The Health Center is working to provide trusted information on questions UO students may have about coronavirus and COVID-19. There is valuable information on how to stay healthy and what to do if you feel ill. Visit the UO’s main coronavirus site for information on the university's response, including academics and travel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Oregon Health Authority coronavirus websites both publish regular updates on the national and statewide preparation and response.
Our Screening and Prevention Procedures
Like the entire UO campus, the University Health Center has enacted new policies and procedures to respond to concerns about the novel coronavirus.
We have created a pre-visit risk evaluation station, staffed by a Registered Nurse. Every patient with complaints of fever or cough will be diverted to a clinician in an exam room to take their temperature and a brief history. After the evaluations, patients will be sent to either:
- A specific appointment in clinic to decide if any heightened care is needed;
- The front desk to schedule an appointment; or
- Triage for home care advice.
We have also stepped up our infection prevention program. In addition to our standard precautions, our greeters and staff members are wearing masks as indicated for health professionals, and we are disinfecting surfaces such as doors, elevators, chairs, and tables in the lobby, waiting room, and throughout the clinics on an increased schedule throughout the day. Exam rooms are disinfected after every patient use. The entire University Health Center is thoroughly cleaned each evening.
Managing Stress and Anxiety
The abundance of news and updates about COVID-19 is making some people feel anxious. The American Psychological Association has put together some tips to manage anxiety, put news reports in perspective, and maintain a positive outlook. If you’re having trouble managing your concerns on your own, please reach out for help. UO students in Eugene are encouraged to contact the University Counseling Center or the Duck Nest; Portland students can get support at the Portland State University Center for Student Health and Counseling.
Stigma, Bias, and Harassment
Viruses don’t discriminate: COVID-19 is not associated with any race, ethnicity, or nationality. It is vital that our community work to combat discrimination based on racial bias or appearances and to correct misinformation on the spot. Make sure you only share accurate, unbiased information, and speak up when you hear, see, or read misinformation or harassment. Incidents of bias or harassment on campus can be reported to the Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance or Bias Education and Response Team.