TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arizona announced that a two-week shelter-in-place recommendation intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 is set to expire Sept. 29.
University officials said Sept. 28 that they are cautiously optimistic after recent COVID-19 testing data has shown numbers headed in the right direction.
Officials said the university’s daily positivity rate — a measure of the virus’s community spread — fell to 3.4% on Sept. 25, below the targeted 5%. There were 261 confirmed coronavirus cases among students and employees last week, less than before the stay-at-home request when cases climbed to that number in a single day.
“This is not a time to become complacent, however,” said university President Robert Robbins. “I continue to see groups of students around the university boulevard and elsewhere without face coverings, and I beg you to please listen and follow the guidelines.”
Robbins warned students that the recommendation could be reinstated if cases start to rise again, and Pima County health officials could take more restrictive measures.
Dr. Richard Carmona, who is leading the re-entry task force, said the university would like to increase its testing but students are not getting tested because they do not want to quarantine.
“So it may be that we have to start considering mandatory testing for students who come on campus and make it a condition of being a student if this continues,” Carmona said.
The university has implemented mandatory random testing for students living on campus and is considering similar options for students living off-campus.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Monitor your health daily
FULL COVERAGE: fox10phoenix.com/coronavirus
Arizona COVID-19 resources, FAQ: azdhs.gov/coronavirus
On CoronavirusNOW.com, you'll find extensive coverage about COVID-19, including breaking news from around the country, exclusive interviews with health officials, and informative content from a variety of public health resources.
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- Coronavirus: Symptoms, testing and how to prepare amid growing COVID-19 outbreak
- How coronavirus differs from flu: Symptoms to watch for
Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu.
Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever.
Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.
Right now there's one big difference between flu and coronavirus: A vaccine exists to help prevent the flu and it's not too late to get it. It won't protect you from catching the coronavirus, but may put you in a better position to fight it.
To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.
And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.