Williams faculty, staff and students

I hope you’ve had a good Winter Study period, whether you were on campus or away.

As many of you know, a respiratory illness first identified in Wuhan, China, is now affecting various regions of the world. As of today, five cases have been identified in the United States. The virus, known as novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), causes a pneumonia-like illness with fever, cough and shortness of breath.

In the majority of cases, coronavirus is treated like the flu and will pass within a few days. However, people who are immune-compromised or have lowered resistance, including some elderly people, may have an increased risk of more serious effects.

If you’ve traveled in or through known affected areas during January 2020 and have any of the above symptoms, please contact your primary care physician or the Student Health and Wellness Center.

Students, we strongly advise that you call the Center, rather than walking in. You’ll be asked a number of screening questions over the phone that can help you avoid coming in unnecessarily, and will also limit the risk of spreading any illness you may have. Given that there’s a strain of flu affecting people on campus right now, with similar symptoms, please avoid making self-diagnoses and call us instead.

Anyone using an off-campus provider should contact your provider’s office for advice.

While Williams isn’t aware of any cases of coronavirus in the campus community, we’ll continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed of developments. The Health Center will post such updates on the health education section of our website. If you’re hosting guests or visitors to campus, please feel free to share this information with them, too, so they know what precautions we’re taking.

For more information on the coronavirus itself, including how to prevent transmission, visit the coronavirus page of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is just one of several respiratory viruses circulating at this time of year. We encourage anyone who hasn’t already had their flu shot for this year to get one as soon as possible. The nearest option is the Walgreen’s pharmacy in the Rite Aid at Colonial Plaza. Students may use the college’s prescription pickup shuttle to get there.

I also strongly encourage everyone to practice good hygiene in order to avoid spreading any illness by following the CDC’s basic prevention steps. These precautions protect you and help prevent the spread of illness for all of us.

Thank you for helping keep yourself and Williams healthy! I wish you all a happy start to the new semester.

Sincerely,

Deb Flynn

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