Two Miami University students being tested for possible coronavirus exposure

State News

OXFORD, Ohio (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Health is testing two Miami University students for possible 2019-novel coronavirus exposure.

According to Miami University, an international student who lives off-campus came to Student Health Service with flu-like symptoms Monday morning.

University health staff tested that student as well as another for coronavirus due to both students having recently traveled to China, officials said.

Samples were sent to the CDC for testing, according to the Butler County General Health District.

Both students are isolated in their off-campus residences, according to the university.

On Tuesday, health officials in China increased the number of people killed by the virus to 132, with approximately 6,000 cases reported across the country.

Representatives from Miami University said it is in contact with the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health.

No case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Butler County.

Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), said during a press conference Tuesday it could take up to 48 hours for the CDC to finish its testing, possibly longer if the center has a large number of tests to conduct.

According to the Butler County General Health District, the immediate health risk to the community is low.

“BCGHD continues to work closely with Miami University Student Health Services and the Ohio Department of Health to monitor the novel (new) coronavirus that has emerged from Wuhan, China, over the past few weeks,” the health district said.

Acton echoed those sentiments during the conference.

“Only with a history of travel (to China) or direct contact with someone under investigation are you truly at risk,” she said.

Acton said people are much more likely to contract the flu or a cold at this point, not the coronavirus, and encouraged people to follow the usual preventative measures:

  • wash hands
  • sneeze or cough into your sleeve
  • if you are sick, stay home

News of the possible coronavirus exposure spread quickly on campus, with many students worried. Some are wearing face masks just hoping for the best when it comes to the tests underway.

“I hope they come back negative,” student Aaron Cutting said. “I mean a normal cold, flu and I hope no other cases have developed, but if they have, I hope everyone stays safe and washes their hands a lot.”

Miami University issued the following statement:

January 28, 2020
On Monday morning, one student at Miami University presented at Student Health Services with very mild symptoms, and with their recent travel, met the criteria and are being tested for possible infection with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Health providers quickly recognized that the presenting patient met the criteria for 2019-Coronavirus testing; results should be back from the CDC in the coming days. This student and his traveling companion are isolated in their off-campus residence while awaiting the test results. Miami and healthcare professionals continue to communicate and collaborate daily with the Butler County Health District and the Ohio Department of Health and are following their recommendations and protocols. We will share information with the community as it becomes available.

We are assisting and supporting these Miami students who are awaiting test results. We continue to work closely with local and state healthcare professionals and the Butler County Health District and Ohio Department of Health. If you are experiencing symptoms and have traveled to the impacted area, please first call Student Health Services at 513-529-3000 to receive guidance on next steps. Miami has set up a call center to address any general questions or concerns at 513-529-9000.

Meanwhile, we are still in flu season, and these precautions are recommended for both the flu and Coronavirus:

Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

It is especially important to wash your hands:
Before, during, and after you prepare food.
Before you eat and after you use the bathroom.
After handling cash.
More frequently when someone in your house is sick.
Before/after smoking/vaping.
Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Clean your doorknobs/light switches and areas commonly touched with disinfectant wipes frequently.

Avoid contact with sick people.

Miami Health Services and Student Life professionals acted quickly with appropriate protocol, and we will continue to follow the best practices currently known. We have proactive partners in local and state healthcare. We will post updated information on myMiami as it becomes available. Please check announcements there regularly.

Jayne Brownell
Vice President, Student Life

Terri Buzzell
Director, Student Health Service

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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