Giulia Marchi / The New York Times

With the number of international cases of coronavirus rising, many take precaution by wearing facemasks. On Ithaca's campus, both students who were undergoing testing for the novel strain have tested negative.

February 3, 2020

CDC Administering Tests for Cornell Student With Coronavirus Symptoms

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A Cornell student presented symptoms that mirror the novel coronavirus strain — which has afflicted over 17,000 people worldwide —  Ryan Lombardi, vice president of student and campus life, announced in an email on Monday. It is not confirmed that the student has the novel coronavirus.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control is conducting laboratory tests for the student, and the results could take a full week, the email read. The student does not reside on campus and is in isolation, receiving full-time care. There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York state, according to the email.

“[T]his is a challenging time for many of our community members,” Lombardi wrote in the email sent Monday afternoon. “Cornell is an international community of scholars and we understand that many of you are worried not only about your own health and well-being, but also for that of your friends and family living abroad.”

The outbreak is believed to have originated in the wildlife markets of Wuhan, China. Symptoms of coronavirus include a high fever, coughing and shortness of breath — which is similar to flu symptoms.

On Wednesday, Provost Michael Kotlikoff sent an email to the Cornell community, writing that the University would bar students from traveling to China for Cornell-related purposes.

Faculty and staff would still be allowed to travel to China, if they receive clearance from Cornell’s International Travel Advisory Response Team, which currently lists China on its elevated-risks destinations list. ITART placed China on this list after the CDC issued a level 3 travel warning, urging travelers not to visit China for nonessential travel.

Study abroad programs to China have also been canceled due to the international outbreak. Shortly before Kotlikoff sent out the email, the China and Asia Pacific Studies program told students in the major that it would cancel its Beijing study abroad program — a graduation requirement — for the spring semester.

The Tompkins County Health Department announced in a health advisory on Jan. 27 that it would collaborate with Cornell to monitor the coronavirus. The health department urged Tompkins County residents who have previously traveled to China and have a fever or shortness of breath to stay home and avoid contact with others, cover up when sneezing or coughing and to frequently wash hands.

In the U.S., there have been 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus. These cases have been in California, Arizona, Washington, Illinois and Massachusetts.

Anxiety surrounding the disease is palpable on campus. Since classes resumed on Jan. 21, some students have been seen wearing masks, and Chinese international students previously expressed to The Sun their fears surrounding the outbreak.

In the email, the University emphasized unity in wake of the international outbreak.

“It is understandable to feel uncertain or anxious during a public health crisis, and we need to remember to care for one another and not make assumptions about others’ perceived symptoms or any characteristics of identity,” Lombardi wrote. “This is a time for the Cornell community to support one another. Your compassion and empathy for each other makes a difference.”