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MSU students fear coronavirus

Posted at 8:00 PM, Jan 24, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — With coronavirus cases now being tested in Michigan, it literally hits close to home for Mid-Michigan and has some MSU students worrying.

The concern comes as many international students were hoping to use this week to travel to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

"I feel like this event is getting more real since it's happening more closer to us," said Yuxin Cheng, vice president of the MSU Chinese Scholar Association.

Cheng and the rest of the Chinese Scholar Association are worried for their friends and family back home as the death toll from the coronavirus has climbed to 26.

"We are super concerned and we keep contacting our family in China to see if everyone is okay," Cheng said.

But as three patients are being tested for the virus here in Michigan, MSU is taking precautions.

"We are telling our students that if you don't feel really well, definitely go to the clinic. Check that out. Don't go to a place where you feel you are going to get sick and protect yourself," Cheng said.

Lynn Sutfin of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) said while the three patients in Michigan are being tested for the deadly virus, they are choosing to self-isolate.

"They are staying away from others and their close contacts are also being monitored very carefully by the local health departments to make sure they are not developing symptoms," Sutfin said.

Given the number of virus cases being tested nationally, Sutfin said no specific turnaround time is available, but results are expected within several days.

"We do know there may be additional and health care providers are being diligent asking their patients with respiratory symptoms and those will be forwarded along as well if they meet the case definition," Sutfin said.

MDHHS said the patients with confirmed infections have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness. Because the virus is spread through touching your eyes, nose or mouth, the best line of defense is hand-washing.

"We want people to be aware of what they are touching. Make sure you are washing your hands for 20 seconds trying to avoid touching objects and then touch your face, specifically your mouth...other sources where infections can invade the body," said Melissa Welch, a nurse practitioner with McLaren Emergency.

Both McLaren and MSU said they are monitoring developments of the virus and have procedures in place in case an outbreak was to take place in our area.

Currently, MSU said there are no changes to any campus programs and there are currently no programs or university personnel with registered travel in the affection region of China.

The Chinese New Year at the Meridian Mall that was scheduled for this Sunday has been postponed until further notice due to the coronavirus.

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