2 Miami students being tested for possible coronavirus: ‘We don’t want fear’

Updated: Jan. 28, 2020 at 8:55 PM EST
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OXFORD, Ohio (FOX19) - Two students at Miami University in Oxford who recently traveled to China are being tested for possible infection with the coronavirus virus, Miami University officials confirmed Tuesday.

On Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began advising travelers to avoid non-essential travel to any part of China.

An international student who lives off-campus went to Student Health Services with flu-like symptoms Monday morning, said Claire Wagner, Miami spokeswoman.

That student and another student who traveled with him will remain isolated until their test results come back, she said.

Butler County Health Commissioner Jenny Bailer said the students weren’t sick enough to be hospitalized but had questionable symptoms and travel locations.

Their test results are expected back by the end of the week, she said.

WATCH LIVE: The Ohio Department of Health is holding a press conference regarding two possible cases of coronavirus at Miami University -- https://bit.ly/2O7aduk

Posted by FOX19 on Tuesday, January 28, 2020

“We are supporting them and their needs during this time,” Wagner said. “While we are in frequent contact with the Butler County Health District and Ohio Department of Health, it is important to note that there are NO confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Butler County currently. We are following all of their recommendations and protocols. It will take several days to confirm the type of virus the student has.”

She said Miami University has notified everyone on campus about the situation and will provide updates.

Public health officials said it is important to note there are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Butler County, but some students are not taking any chances.

“I’m concerned because people travel all over the world and every day. I check the news and all those red spots," student Xiuhan Chen said.

Ohio Director of Health Amy Acton, MD, said they don’t want any fear.

“This is low risk,” she said. “You are much more likely to get the flu or cold."

Acton did say despite the low risk, they are prepared.

“We are on it... we stand prepared,” she said. “We’ve been working closely with the CDC for several weeks.”

Miami officials say they believe teams that were scheduled to play against the university men’s basketball team on Tuesday and the women’s basketball game on Wednesday canceled the games due to the possibility of coronavirus on campus.

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Butler County General Health District said in a news release Miami University Student Health Services notified them earlier Tuesday.

“Both possible cases had recently traveled and returned from China. Both possible cases are not severely ill and currently in isolation to keep the illness from spreading. Samples were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Monday afternoon,” the news release states.

“Unless you have recently traveled from China or have been around someone ill with this new virus, your risk of getting sick is low. If you have traveled from China and are, experiencing signs and symptoms contact your doctor BEFORE going to the office. Miami students, who meet this criteria, and are experiencing signs or symptoms contact Student Health Services at 513-529-3000 before seeking care.”

According to the CDC, the new virus can cause symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

The CDC says symptoms of the virus can appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after initial exposure. Those symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Runny nose

Testing for results can take at least 48 hours.

BCGHD is continuing 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, they added.

They described this as “a rapidly evolving situation" and said information will be updated as it becomes available.

Guidance on the virus is available on the Centers for Disease Control website, www.cdc.gov.

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