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Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ

Virginia Union University is continuing to monitor updates about coronavirus. We are working with Capital Area Health Network (CAHN), our University-based healthcare provider, and following the recommendations from the Virginia Department of Health(VDH) as well as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

If you need further information, please contact our information center at 804-257-5673 during the hours of 10:00am – 8:00pm.  You can also follow Virginia Union University social media accounts (IG, FB, Twitter) for updated information.  

Below are our responses to frequently asked questions. Please check back often, as we are updating content regularly. Also, all updates and communications will be shared with everyone via their VUU email accounts. Please be sure to check your updates regularly.


What is a novel coronavirus?

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

Can someone who has had COVID-19 spread the illness to others?

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

Current CDC guidance for when it is OK to release someone from isolation is made on a case by case basis and includes meeting all of the following requirements:

The patient is free from fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
The patient is no longer showing symptoms, including cough.
The patient has tested negative on at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart.

Someone who has been released from isolation is not considered to pose a risk of infection to others.

How does it spread?  

Droplet/fomites.  Airborne spread has not been reported.  
Person-to-person spread: The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. Please continue to wipe down surfaces with agents that have greater than 70% alcohol.  

How easily does the virus spread?

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

Can the virus that causes COVID-19 be spread through food, including refrigerated or frozen food?

Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently, there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.

In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.

Who is COVID-19 affecting?  

COVID-19 can infect ANYONE. Mostly older patients and those with comorbidities having a more severe course. It is likely under detected in younger patients due to the low complication rate in these patients.

What are the symptoms?

Based on 55,924 lab confirmed cases symptoms were seen as follows: Fever (88%); Dry cough (67%); Fatigue (38%); Sputum production (33%); Short of breath (18%); Sore throat (14%); Headache (13%); Muscle/joint aches (15%); Chills (11%); Nausea/vomiting (5%); Nausea/vomiting (5%); Stuffy nose (5%); Diarrhea (4%); Coughing up blood (1%)
Can I travel?

The CDC has travel advisories for COVID-19. These can change as new information becomes available.  Before you start a trip, check CDC’s travel information for the most current advice.

How can I keep myself from getting sick with COVID-19? 

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact with sick people or animals.  Stay home when you are sick.  Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw it away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into your elbow. Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that you frequently touch.  Avoid non-essential travel to regions listed in CDC travel advisories . It is also important to keep your body resilient: Eat a healthy diet. Exercise. Get plenty of rest.

What should I do if I have experience illness?

At this time, CAHN is offering telehealth services and acute/sick visits by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, please call at (804)780-0840. Virtual appointments will require that you download the patient portal app (see instructions attached). The need for all in-person visits will first be determined following a virtual appointment.  If an in-person visit is needed, acute/sick visits will be scheduled between 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday at Northside Medical Center (2809 North Avenue, Richmond, VA 23222) and Vernon J. Harris Medical and Dental Center (719 N. 25th Street, Richmond, VA 23223). In the event that an in-person appointment is required, transportation is being provided on a case-by-case basis.  

Should I wear a mask to protect myself?

The Centers for Disease Control has recommended that a mask may help reduce the spread and likelihood of infection. Please note that a mask does not guarantee protection. Everyone is encouraged to implement best practices in hand-washing and physical distancing.

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