Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

St. John’s University is monitoring the novel coronavirus situation carefully and is taking proactive and prudent measures to ensure the health and safety of the St. John’s community in accordance with the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) and governmental authorities at European campuses.  According to the CDC, the risk of contracting the Novel Coronavirus in the United States is very low.

New information about the novel coronavirus is being updated daily sometimes hourly. Please visit the CDC website for the latest information about the situation.

All concerns regarding novel coronavirus and potential cases should be directed to Student Health Services at 718 990-6360 (select option 4). Student Health Services will work with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to take appropriate action.

It is always good practice to follow self-care habits to stay well – wash your hands, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you cannot use soap and water, cover your cough, keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth and don’t share food or drinks. If you get sick, stay home and rest.

What to Know

As of today (Wednesday, February 5), there have been no identified cases in the St. John’s community including campuses in Rome, Paris, and Limerick

  • On January 30, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency. This acknowledges that, while the novel coronavirus was initially seen to be a risk primarily in China, it is now of serious concern beyond its borders and calls for a coordinated international response.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has declared a public health emergency, and the U.S. government has issued travel restrictions and an advisory warning against all travel to China.
  • St. John’s University officials are receiving guidance and working closely with the US Health and Human Services, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Office of International Education, and other offices to monitor this evolving situation and respond appropriately.
  • For a summary of related to the novel coronavirus, see communication from St. John’s University.

Symptoms of 2019-nCoV are very similar to seasonal flu and include fever, cough, or shortness of breath. For those with a weakened immune system, there's a chance the virus could cause much more serious respiratory tract illness like pneumonia or bronchitis. Because it is cold and flu season, and this virus has similar symptoms, it is important to not make any assumptions and have any respiratory illness evaluated by a healthcare provider. At this time, the novel coronavirus is primarily related to the outbreak in China.

It is flu season! Take the same precautions that you would during cold and flu season. Wash your hands often, cover your cough, and if you feel sick stay home. For more information, visit www.stjohns.edu/flu.

Frequently Asked Questions

The 2019 novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Learn about 2019 novel coronavirus.

According to the CDC the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus in the United States is very low. Most patients with novel coronavirus have been linked to those who live in or visited Wuhan, China. There is only one documented case in the United States of human to human transmission of novel coronavirus and in this case it was the spouse of someone who recently returned to Wuhan, China.

St. John’s is using multiple communication channels to keep the campus community informed. This includes:

If you do not have any of the above symptoms we recommend following the guidance from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene which suggests that, “All New Yorkers should go about their daily life, but take the same precautions that you would during cold and flu season."

  • Get your flu shot — it’s not too late!
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work or to class!

The protective value of wearing a surgical mask is limited, and no health agencies currently recommend general wearing of a surgical mask to avoid contracting 2019-nCoV.

Masks can help in the following way: if you are starting to experience symptoms, wearing a mask can help to prevent you from spreading illness to others, i.e., if you start experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness (coughing, sneezing, congestion.

Novel coronavirus symptoms and flu symptoms are similar. The majority of the cases of the illness have occurred in and around the city of Wuhan in China. If you have not been to the area of the outbreak, chances are you might have the flu.

If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and body aches, it is important to not make any assumptions and have any respiratory illness evaluated by a health-care provider. Students should call Student Health Services immediately at 718-990-6360 (select option 4). If Student Health Services is closed, please call the Department of Public Safety at 718-990-5252. Faculty, administrators, and staff should call their primary care provider.

If you recently traveled to China or have been in contact with someone known to be infected with the novel coronavirus AND have a fever and cough or shortness of breath, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away.
  • Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. Students should call Student Health Services immediately at 718-990-6360 (select option 4). If Student Health Services is closed, please call the Department of Public Safety at 718-990-5252. Faculty, administrators, and staff should call their primary care provider.
  • Wear a face mask if you need to leave your home when sick.
  • After you have been seen by a health care provider, stay home and avoid contact with others until you are well.
  • Avoid travel on any public transportation (e.g., buses, subways, trains, airplanes, car services, taxi, Uber,) until the illness resolves.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Remember hospital staff will not ask patients about their immigration status.

Please contact to Student Health Services at 718-990-6360 (select option 4) if you are interested in self-quarantining yourself. Student Health Services will help evaluate your situation and consult with medical professionals and determine if the self-quarantine is the best option for you.

As of yet, there are no cases of infection of novel coronavirus anywhere in the St. John’s Community, nor have there been any cases identified in New York City.

Concerns about a new and unfamiliar illness are understandable.

If you are feeling anxious or uneasy, please don’t hesitate to turn to the Student Health Services (718-990-6360, select option 4) or the Center for Counseling and Consultation (Queens, 718-990-6384; Staten Island, 718-390-4451) or the St. John’s University Mental Health Helpline (718-990-6352).

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) is the official source of information about confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) at St. John’s or anywhere in the New York City area. The university will work closely with the NYC DOHMH if a notification is needed.

If you become aware of a student or an employee who has is believed to have a case of novel coronavirus please call Student Health Services immediately (718-990-6360, select option 4). Student Health Services will confirm this with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and take appropriate action.

St. John’s Correspondence:

Yes. Student Health Services is taking proactive and prudent measures to ensure the health, and the University reached out to all St. John's students from China and those who may have traveled to mainland China and provided guidance and support.

The US Department of State and CDC have issued travel advisories warning against all travel to China.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has declared a public health emergency. As a result, beginning on February 2, 2020, at 5 p.m. (EST) the United States has initiated the following actions:

  • U.S. citizens returning to the United States who has been in Hubei Province in the previous 14 days will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine to ensure they are they are provided proper medical care and health screening.
  • All individuals returning to the U.S. from mainland China are asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Foreign nationals, other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled in China within the last 14 days will be denied entry into the United States for this time.