Prevention, Health and Wellness — Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Updated May 18, 2020, 4:30 p.m.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Maintain at least 6 feet of separation at all times (social distancing). Following Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services, use face coverings when it is not possible to keep a 6-foot distance. (CDC guidelines recommend wearing cloth face coverings at other times, and individuals may choose to do so.)
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Mizzou has adopted a recommendation by Faculty Council leadership to employ a no-handshake practice. Verbal greetings are preferred substitutes.
If you feel sick and think you may have been exposed to the coronavirus, please call ahead before visiting your health care provider. This will help the health care provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed. Students who experience symptoms should contact the MU Student Health Center to discuss symptoms and travel history. Faculty and staff members who experience symptoms should contact their primary care provider.
Additionally, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has activated a statewide public hotline, 877-435-8411, for citizens or providers needing guidance regarding COVID-19.
Several resources are available, whether you're feeling overwhelmed or isolated, or simply looking to be proactive about staying engaged and healthy.
- Students are invited to reach out to Student Health and Well-Being. The Student Health Center remains open. Students can receive care in person there or speak to nursing staff by telephone, 573-882-6601. The Counseling Center remains open. Staff are preparing to deliver services remotely.
- The University's Employee Assistance Program offers confidential, professional services to eligible employees and their dependents. University employees may schedule confidential EAP counseling/crisis intervention sessions via phone or video conference.
- Sanvello, a free app subscription available for any student, faculty or staff member with a University email address. The app has tools to create a mental health roadmap and track the progress of a user’s journey.
- The university has online workshops on mindfulness, meditation and yoga. Check out stufftodo.missouri.edu for various other ways to stay connected during this time.
- The UM System’s webpage on mindful practices includes information on meditation and relaxation programs, yoga and mindful eating.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has helpful suggestions for coping during the outbreak.
If a member of the university community feels sick and thinks that they may have COVID-19, they should call ahead to get advice from their health care provider. This will help the health care provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed. Students who experience symptoms should contact the MU Student Health Center to discuss symptoms and relevant health history. Faculty and staff members who experience symptoms should contact their primary care provider.
- Per CDC protocol, public health officials address and investigate each positive case, assess the risk to others and provide notifications to those who need to take increased precautions or monitor themselves.
- At MU Health Care, physicians notify all tested individuals of their test result and give instructions for continued self-monitoring or isolation and, if positive, appropriate treatment and/or instructions to self-isolate.
- If an MU student tests positive at a MU Health Care facility, the Columbia/Boone County Health Department will assist with contacting individuals who are known or suspected to have been exposed and informing them how long to self-isolate and what to do if symptoms develop.
- If an MU student, faculty or staff member tests positive at an MU Health Care facility, the dean or department chair of that college/school/division may NOT be alerted by MU Health Care due to HIPAA restrictions and the privacy of the positive individual. Positive individuals may choose to inform their dean or department chair. If it is known that a specific population has been exposed, there may be a health message sent to that population. For example, if an individual was positive and had recently attended a large, organized gathering, the health department may decide to send a message to everyone at the large gathering to inform then that they may have been exposed.
- In compliance with CDC guidelines, the decision to admit a COVID-19 patient into the hospital or advise self-isolation at home will be made on a case-by-case basis. This decision will depend on the severity of symptoms, the patient’s ability to engage in home isolation and the risk of transmission in the patient’s home environment.
Following Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services, use face coverings when it is not possible to keep a 6-foot distance. (CDC guidelines recommend wearing cloth face coverings at other times, and individuals may choose to do so.)
Social distancing is recommended to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Even young, healthy people without symptoms can carry the virus unknowingly and pass it on to others. For more information on the importance of social distancing, visit the Student Health and Well-Being website.