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FAQ: About COVID-19 and travel advisories

Main page: COVID-19 public health alert
FAQ: General information for students, faculty and staff  
FAQ: How the University is preparing and responding
FAQ: Minnesota's stay at home order

To mitigate the potential risk of exposure to the virus, all five University campuses have moved to alternative instruction methods as of March 18. Faculty and staff have been instructed to work from home, unless instructed otherwise. Please review the latest announcement from President Gabel for more information.

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What is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that causes respiratory illness. Since first being detected in China late last year, confirmed cases have occurred in North and South America, Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continuously updates its website with information as public health officials learn more about the virus. Visit the CDC's website.

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?

According to the CDC, patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 have symptoms that can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illnesses. 

The CDC believes COVID-19 symptoms can appear between two to 14 days after exposure, based on the incubation period of another type of coronavirus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).

How is it transmitted?

While there is still more to be learned about COVID-19, health officials believe it spreads mainly from person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Learn more from the CDC.

How can I protect myself from contracting COVID-19?

If you are sick, the Minnesota Department of Health asks you to stay home to reduce the risk of spreading illnesses to others.

There are steps you can take to prevent the spread of all types of respiratory illnesses, such as:

  • stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed;
  • washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water; 
  • avoiding those who are sick; 
  • avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; 
  • covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing it in the trash; and
  • cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

What travel guidance should I take into consideration?

As the situation surrounding COVID-19 changes rapidly around the globe, there are multiple items to take into consideration:

Travelers who feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing should seek medical advice. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. If you are experiencing symptoms, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing. Travelers should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60-90% alcohol.


Is there a vaccine?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 illnesses. 

Additional information about COVID-19 can be found at:

If you have questions, please email the University of Minnesota at [email protected]. You can expect a response in 1-2 business days.