Miami University, health officials discuss possible coronavirus

Local News

OXFORD, Ohio (WDTN) – The Butler County Health Department said Tuesday two possible cases of the coronavirus have been reported at Miami University.

Miami University Student Health Services told the Butler County General Health District (BCGHD) Tuesday morning. 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 the student and another student for coronavirus due to recent travel to China.

BCGHD said both possible cases had recently traveled and returned from China. The two unidentified people are not severely ill and currently isolated in their off-campus residences to keep the illness from spreading.

Health officials said samples were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Amy Acton with the Ohio Department of Health stressed that as of now, the virus is still considered a low-risk infection.

“We are on it. We stand prepared. We’ve been working closely with the CDC for a couple weeks now, since the first case. It’s really important to know that the CDC is saying at this point, this infection is low risk,” she said.

Butler County Health Commissioner Jenny Butler said, “They isolated the students immediately and called us and then we did an investigation, interviewed the students and then placed them in a home situation because they were not sick enough to be hospitalized. They will stay in their homes and not be out in the public at all this week.”

BCGHD said 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 have traveled to China, and are experiencing signs or symptoms contact Student Health Services at 513-529-3000 before seeking care.

contact info for Miami Univ

Public health officials have described the immediate health risk to the campus community as low. BCGHD said it is working closely with Miami University Student Health Services and the Ohio Department of Health to monitor the coronavirus that has emerged from Wuhan, China, over the past few weeks.

“This is what public health does and why we train,” expressed Jennifer Bailer. “Our staff, officials at Miami University and the Ohio Department of Health are taking every precaution to keep the community safe. The same precautions that protect against catching and spreading the flu are likely to be helpful for this respiratory virus: Wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your nose and eyes, cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze and don’t go to work if ill. Displaying compassion to all people will be vital as the situation evolves.” 

Miami University posted a message from the Vice President of Student Life to the community Tuesday on its website.

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.

Jayne Brownell
Vice President, Student Life
Terri Buzzell
Director, Student Health Service

This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available. You can find more information about the virus on the Centers for Disease Control website.

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