Updates on COVID-19

Updates on COVID-19
February 14, 2020
World Map and Passport

Health officials worldwide are monitoring a respiratory illness outbreak COVID-19, caused by novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV, that originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. UNC-Chapel Hill continues to monitor updates on the spread of 2019 novel coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control, and we are using their guidance and recommendations here on our own campus. As of Feb. 10, there are no confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus in North Carolina.

Information for Travelers

U.S. citizens who have been to the Hubei province within the last 14 days will be subject to mandatory quarantine and a health screening at one of 11 airports across the country.

U.S. citizens who have been in other areas of mainland China within 14 days of their return will undergo proactive entry health screening and up to 14 days of self-quarantine with health monitoring to ensure they have not contracted the virus and do not pose a public health risk.

All foreign nationals (other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents) who have been to mainland China in the last 14 days are temporarily banned from entering the country.


According to the CDC, symptoms of the virus include:

  • runny nose
  • headache
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • a general feeling of being unwell

The CDC believes that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. The illness can be more serious for individuals with a weakened immune system, the elderly, or those with underlying respiratory problems. It could result in bronchitis and pneumonia.

What to do if you believe you may have been exposed to coronavirus

Anyone who has returned from China within the past 14 days and is sick with fever and a cough, or difficulty breathing, should seek medical care immediately and call ahead to the doctor’s office to inform them of recent travel and symptoms. Students with symptoms should call Campus Health at 919-966-6603 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or 919-966-6573 (Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.); faculty or staff can call the University Employee Occupational Health Clinic at 919-966-9119 (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or your healthcare provider.

Campus Updates

January 29, 2020 ​Message to University Community Regarding Travel to China

  • Due to the outbreak of a respiratory infection that is caused by a novel coronavirus which first emerged in the city of Wuhan in the Hubei Province of China, nonessential University-affiliated travel to China is not permitted at this time.

January 24, 2020 ​Message to University Community Regarding Coronavirus

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, China, and continues to expand. We are not aware of any confirmed cases on our campus at this time.


Resources for Students, Faculty and Staff

Resources About COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions

Does UNC-Chapel Hill have any cases of Coronavirus? No. At this time, there are no confirmed or suspected cases of Coronavirus in North Carolina.

What is COVID-19? ​ COVID-19, caused by a novel coronavirus, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Learn about 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

How does the virus spread? This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses.

How can I best protect myself? The CDC recommends following the same guidelines as flu prevention:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • 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.

What if I have planned to travel to China this semester? Nonessential University-affiliated travel to China is not permitted at this time. Students who have planned to travel should contact their study abroad office or program manager. Faculty who are engaged in research and may be considered an essential traveler must contact Andrew Hunt, global operations specialist, at Andrew.Hunt@unc.edu to initiate further review and approval.

What is UNC-Chapel Hill doing to prevent the spread of illness on campus? The University has a Communicable Diseases Working Group that is prepared to respond to prevent the spread of any infectious disease. That group, along with the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs, is closely monitoring updates on the situation from the Centers for Disease Control and is using their guidance and recommendations to inform our own campus response.  We work closely with local and state officials, Carolina’s Environment, Health and Safety office, and UNC Hospitals to help address communicable diseases and help keep our students, faculty, staff and University community safe and healthy.

Where can I find the latest information on COVID-19 and its impact at UNC-Chapel Hill? Check the CDC website for the most recent updates on the virus and confirmed cases across the world.

If I think I have been exposed or if I experience symptoms of coronavirus and have recently traveled to China, what are my options for keeping up with my work if I need to stay home?

Students: Immediately contact Campus Health at 919-966-6603 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or 919-966-6573 (Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). To make arrangements for classwork and other academic obligations, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at odos@unc.edu or 919-966-4042.

Employees: Immediately call the University Employee Occupational Health Clinic at 919-966-9119 (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or your healthcare provider. There is an employee policy regarding Flexible Work Arrangements: employees may work with their manager to arrange to work remotely until the 14-day incubation period from the time of potential exposure expires or if they are experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

I am feeling unsure and anxious about the possibility of exposure to coronavirus from people on campus who I think may have been exposed. How can I find help?

It is understandable to feel uncertain or anxious during a public health crisis. It is important to remember to not make assumptions about others’ perceived symptoms, travel history or identity. For students struggling with anxiety, they can reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services: 919-966-3658 (24/7). For employees who are looking for support, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a resource available to help employees through stressful situations and events.

What should I do if I witness or experience harassment or discrimination due to COVID-19?

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to fostering an environment of diversity, equity and inclusion. While the spread of disease may cause fear and uncertainty, we reject xenophobia and any speech or action that would be discriminatory toward any member of our campus community. It is wrong to assume that because of someone’s perceived country or region of origin that they have come in contact with or have contracted the new coronavirus. If you or someone you know has experienced discrimination or harassment, contact the University’s Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office.

Updated Feb 14, 2020