Faculty, Staff & Students

COVID-19 Resources

Augusta COVID-19 Statistics

Positive, negative and pending case counts reflect total number to date.

hotline calls, telemedicine screenings and drive-thru visits are for the period 3/19-3/20 (7 a.m. – 7 a.m.)

13
Positive Cases
80
Negative Cases
250 +
Pending
723
Hotline Calls
537
Telemedicine Screenings
156
Drive-thru visits

The health of Jag Nation is a top priority at Augusta University.

This is Augusta University’s official source of information about COVID-19. Given the global nature of Augusta University, we want to share important tips on how to stay healthy, remind you of the health and wellness resources that are available to you and inform you of the national and international protocols that are being followed by the university to help minimize the spread of illness. Please rely on information that links directly from this site and be aware that other sources may not reflect the most current and accurate information.

Classes Suspended

Instruction suspended amid COVID-19 concerns

Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all University System of Georgia institutions will temporarily suspend instruction for two weeks to allow time for USG institutions to test their business continuity plans and online instruction modules and for state officials to continue to assess the current situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia.

Read More »

Key points from the CDC

Symptoms of COVID-19

COVID-19 symptoms may include fever, cough or shortness of breath. Those experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention, if you or anyone you know has traveled to or through Wuhan in the last two weeks. 

Traveling to or from Wuhan

Travelers to Wuhan, China should avoid contact with sick people, animals (alive or dead), and animal markets. Travelers from Wuhan to the United States and other countries may be asked questions about their health and their travel history upon arrival.

Keep yourself Healthy

We are seeing a spike in respiratory illness like the flu virus, as is expected in the winter season. Flu and other respiratory illnesses are spread when someone with the illness coughs or sneezes and another person inhales respiratory droplets or touches a surface that has been contaminated (such as a doorknob or desk) and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Campus Safety

Are there any cases of COVID-19 on campus or in the surrounding community?

As of March 16, there are confirmed cases of coronavirus COVID-19 in the Augusta area. Please check the Georgia Department of Public Health site for the most updated information on positive cases in Georgia. 

Augusta University is committed to regular updates on our website with the latest information on the disease and steps you can take to protect yourself.

What precautions is the university taking to protect students, faculty and staff from COVID-19?

We continue to monitor COVID-19 and to take safety actions as warranted and in conjunction with our local, state and national health agencies. We also participate in regular updates with the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD, established a task force in February composed of leaders from across campus who are now working to assess the university’s readiness plans and execute protocols related to medical health and safety, business continuity, emergency preparedness and travel.

Will the university be implementing special screenings or other procedures related to spring break travel by students and other employees?

The university announced March 4 it will cancel the Italy Business Study Abroad program and the Italy Film and Study Abroad Program, both in May 2020. We are continuing to work with the University System of Georgia for further recommendations and guidance regarding travel.

The federal government handles screening at U.S. entry points and does not allow anyone who has been in a high-risk area in the past 14 days to enter the country. Individuals traveling to nations that are under CDC Levels 2 or 3 travel advisories during spring break also will be required to observe and prove a 14-day self-quarantine before being allowed to resume normal campus activities.

As part of the CDC travel guidance, all non-essential travel to Level III countries including China, Iran, Italy and South Korea have ceased. It is also recommended that employees delay travel plans to countries with known outbreak. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Campus
Environment

In light of spread of outbreak, are all students, faculty and staff welcome on campus?

Yes, we uphold the value of inclusivity and believe that times of crisis are when we work together to promote the safety and wellbeing of our entire university community. Only those students, employees and visitors under mandated self-quarantine or who have not been cleared by Student Health Services will not be permitted on campus.

Why are you not limiting entry to your campus except people who are self-quarantined?

It is important to note that travel by U.S. citizens both within the country, as well as internationally, is regulated by the U.S. government. The university abides by federal regulations and CDC guidelines. We are taking appropriate measures to protect the entire community, while providing support and resources to anyone who might have been exposed.

What counseling and support services are available?

We encourage students to seek support with Student Counseling and Psychological Services at 706-737-1471. Our counselors will provide psychological care and refer students to other university resources.

Augusta University strives to be an inclusive community that welcomes and respects all people. Acts that violate the institution’s core values of compassion, inclusivity and integrity will not be tolerated.

How will I be notified about actions related to coronavirus?

The university is committed to keeping the community informed through updates on its dedicated resource webpage. Employees and students will also receive a bi-weekly email update with news and information related to COVID-19. We also encourage you to follow our social media channels for additional information and updates.

The university has responded to many infectious diseases, and our protocols are designed to protect the entire community, while providing support and resources to anyone who might have been exposed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Academics & University Operations

Have there been any changes to class or work schedules?

Yes, effective Monday, March 16, all University System of Georgia institutions will temporarily suspend instruction for two weeks to allow time for USG institutions to test their business continuity plans and online instruction modules and for state officials to continue to assess the current situation regarding COVID-19 in Georgia.  

All normal attendance policies for employees are in effect. 

What if there is a confirmed case on campus?

The university has responded to many infectious diseases, and our protocols are designed to protect the entire community, while providing support and resources to anyone who might have been exposed.

Are you going to cancel large gatherings?

We continue to monitor the situation and will take whatever action we deem necessary to ensure the safety and health of our campus community.

What are you doing to plan for the possibility that this outbreak will continue for several months?

We have plans in place for large-scale disasters and outbreaks and will continue to assess those plans for the duration of the event.

Frequently Asked Questions

Health & Safety Precautions

How can I protect myself from COVID-19?

Just like with the standard flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend several preventative actions like washing your hands, being informed and staying home when you’re sick.

Remember also to practice good hand hygiene and cough etiquette, and to keep in mind that the CDC does not currently recommend using face masks to prevent infection. Masks are typically worn by already infected individuals to prevent spreading to others.

Learn more about what you need to know and how to stop the spread of germs.

What do I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you develop these symptoms within 14 days of traveling to a country with a high incidence of disease or contact with a person who’s traveled to one of those countries, you should call Student Health Services at 706-721-3448. The Student Health Clinic will direct your next steps.

What do I do if I have been diagnosed?

If you have been diagnosed, Augusta University is ready to help. Call the Dean of Students’ Office at 706-737-1411 if you need help facilitating absences or other academic arrangements with faculty, or other forms of support.

Are there ways to prevent contracting the virus?

When it comes to preventing all viruses, including the flu, the following guidance holds true:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Should I wear a mask?

The CDC does not currently recommend the use of face masks for the general public to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

Isolation involves separating ill persons from well persons, while quarantine involves separating well persons who have been exposed to the infection from other well persons during the incubation period of an illness. The current quarantine for COVID-19 is 14 days.

Travel advisory

Guidance regarding travel to China

As of Jan. 30, 2020, the U.S. State Department adjusted its travel advisory for China from “Reconsider Travel to China” to “Do Not Travel.” Based on this guidance and the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations related to the new strain of coronavirus, University System of Georgia and its institutions will NOT approve travel to China effective immediately.

Webinar with experts

Augusta University hosted an educational presentation Feb. 7 to provide accurate and timely information on the COVID-19 outbreak. The session was held in the Natalie and Lansing B. Lee Jr. Auditorium, and the event was streamed live and recorded. Presenters included Dr. Jim Wilde, an infectious disease physician at the Medical College of Georgia, and Dr. Amado Baez, a professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine. This event was hosted by Augusta University Medical Center, the Center of Operational Medicine and the Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response.

Student Information

What students should know
right now about COVID-19

Augusta University is closely monitoring the recent outbreak of Coronavirus 2019, or COVID-19. Although there have been no reported cases in the Augusta area or within the university community, it’s important for students to stay informed and prepared.

Do I need to attend class March 16-29, or complete assignments due?

  • Fully online courses will continue without interruption.
  • Except for healthcare/clinical programs*, all face-to-face, in-person and hybrid courses will be suspended until classes resume March 30. Assessments and homework deadlines previously scheduled for these classes are postponed until classes resume.

*Classes for students enrolled in healthcare/clinical programs in the Medical College of GeorgiaThe Dental College of GeorgiaCollege of Nursing and College of Allied Health Sciences will continue without interruption. Please be on the lookout for communication from the dean of your respective college for further instructions.

How can I stay connected with the university remotely during the next two weeks?

Utilize this IT resource web page to understand what software or technology support you will need to stay connected remotely, check your university email regularly and visit the coronavirus resource page.

What services are available in the next two weeks?

The university is still open, although most services will be offered virtually to support our mission of social distancing. Please check the departmental web sites or social media for the most updated information. Here are a few examples:

  • Student Counseling & Psychological Services, Student Health Services, and Testing & Disability Services will operate on a regular schedule.
  • Dining is available and JagExpress Shuttles are running on a limited schedule.
  • The Libraries, Academic Success Center, Campus Recreation Center, JSAC, and all computer labs are closed for student access through March 29. Utilize the departmental web sites for guidance on how to connect virtually.

Do I have to leave my residence hall? What if I don’t have anywhere to go?

Residence halls are open for resident students who have a need to remain. Access to all residence hall entrances will be restricted to only those who have registered to stay on campus. Students who leave campus are strongly encouraged not to return to campus until notified. If you only need access to your residence hall room for a short period of time to collect some personal belongings but do not plan to stay on campus, please call 706-729-2300 to coordinate access.

How can I protect myself from Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)?

Just like with the standard flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend several preventative actions like washing your hands, being informed, and staying home when you’re sick.

Remember also to practice good hand hygiene and cough etiquette, and to keep in mind that the CDC does not currently recommend using face masks to prevent infection. Masks are typically worn by already infected individuals to prevent spreading to others.

Learn more about what you need to know, and how to stop the spread of germs.

What do I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you develop these symptoms within 14 days of:

…you should call Student Health Services at 706-721-3448. The Student Health Clinic will direct your next steps.

What do I do if I have been diagnosed?

If you have been diagnosed, Augusta University is ready to help. Call the Dean of Students’ Office at 706-737-1411 if you need help facilitating absences or other academic arrangements with faculty, or other forms of support.

Where can I find support if I have experienced stigmatization or unfair treatment related to health?

We encourage students to seek support with Student Counseling and Psychological Services at 706-737-1471. Our counselors will provide psychological care and refer students to other university resources.

Augusta University strives to be an inclusive community that welcomes and respects all people. Acts that violate the institution’s core values of compassion, inclusivity, and integrity are not tolerated.

Keep in mind that viruses cannot target people from specific populations, ethnicities, or racial backgrounds. People from affected countries that live in the U.S. may be worried about friends and relatives who are living in affected regions, and facing stigma will only worsen their fear and anxiety. Social support during this outbreak is crucial.

News For Students

augusta university shield logo

Instruction suspended amid COVID-19 concerns

Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all University System of Georgia institutions will temporarily suspend instruction for two weeks to allow time for USG institutions to test their business continuity plans and online instruction modules and for state officials to continue to assess the current situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in Georgia.

Read More »
virus

COVID-19 update for the Augusta University community

In events like these, information changes quickly, and it’s important that employees, students, their parents and patients know about those changes as soon as they happen. That’s why we’ve created a web resource dedicated to news and updates about the coronavirus COVID-19.

Read More »

What you can do

Health Services

If you are experiencing respiratory symptoms with a fever or have had contact with an individual known to have COVID-19, call 706-721-0211 to speak to a provider.

Self-isolation

We ask any student who meets the CDC criteria to self-isolate and avoid contact with others, except to get medical care. Do not go to school, work or public areas or use public transportation.

Counseling Services

If you are experiencing increased anxiety or stress related to concerns for family in China, please call 706-737-1471 to speak with AU Counseling Services. We’re here to help.

Employees

What should I do if I am sick?

Regular benefits eligible employees have leave that is available to them to cover absences. Employees should follow standard request and approval procedures. Employees are asked to not come to work when they are sick and rather to stay home and use appropriate leave.  If an employee appears to be exhibiting symptoms associated with coronavirus while at work, a manager may let the employee know they are excused from work and should seek care from a healthcare provider. The employee will be expected to use appropriate leave to cover the time away and may be expected to provide a release from a healthcare provider to return to work. 

Will FMLA cover me if I become ill with the Coronavirus?

It depends…

If you are eligible for FMLA based on the federal regulations and you have tested positive for COVID 19, then yes FMLA will be available to you.

If you have only been exposed to the virus, FMLA is not applicable. However, you may still need to be quarantined and applicable leave could be an option subject to standard request and approval procedures.

Will FMLA cover me if an immediate member of my family contracts coronavirus?

Yes, FMLA allows an eligible employee to take FMLA leave if either the employee or an immediate family member, defined as spouse, child or parent, contracts the disease.

What if I have been exposed, but I am not showing any symptoms?

Employees who believe they have been exposed, but are not showing symptoms may be required to self-quarantine. Managers have the discretion to determine if an employee’s duties and responsibilities can reasonably be performed from an employee’s home location, and when they can, the manager may elect to offer the employee the option to telework. If the duties and responsibilities cannot be performed from afar, the manager should advise the employee that they will be required to take appropriate leave to cover any absence.  Employees must follow telework and flextime policies except that a manager can waive the requirement to complete an agreement and may use email to confirm approval to telework.

What if I have been exposed, and I am showing symptoms?

Employees who believe they have been exposed and are showing symptoms should seek care from a health care provider and may be required to self-quarantine. Managers have the discretion to determine if an employee’s duties and responsibilities can reasonably be performed from an employee’s home location, and when they can, the manager may elect to offer the employee the option to telework. If the duties and responsibilities cannot be performed from afar or the manager does not wish to consider telework, the manager should advise the employee that they will be required to take appropriate leave to cover any absence.  The manager should let the employee know they will be required to provide a release from a physician or healthcare provider prior to returning to work.  AU Health System employees are required to clear through Employee Health if they have been absent for three (3) or more days.

What guidance is available for home quarantine and isolation?

The CDC has guidance on this topic found at the website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/

If my job involves travel and I’m concerned about potential risks, what should I do?  What if I am a manager of an employee who is scheduled to travel for work?

Managers and employees should discuss future business travel plans and review the most recent CDC guidelines for high risk classified areas.  Managers will have the authority to rescind prior travel approval.  All should exercise good judgment in evaluating travel.

What if I am planning to travel or have traveled out of state or out of the country?  What if I have coworkers who have traveled or will be traveling out of state or out of the country?

The employee should notify their manager if they have traveled and been exposed or potentially exposed to the virus. Employees may be required to self-quarantine out of an abundance of caution. If diagnosed or infected, the employee will be required to self-quarantine.  The manager should let the employee know they will be required to provide a release from a physician or healthcare provider prior to returning to work.

Anyone planning to travel, either domestically or internationally, over spring break is encouraged to stay up to date with current travel alerts from the CDC.  Currently, CDC recommends travelers should avoid nonessential travel to any country under a Warning Level 3 or higher.

 As a reminder, anyone traveling to a country under a CDC Warning Level 3 or higher must not return to any USG campus or facility for 14 days following their return.

Can a manager consider telework or flex schedules for employees?

Yes, a manager has the discretion to determine if it would be reasonable for an employee to work from home, an alternate location, or, modify their work schedule.   If the manager makes such a determination, he/she should work with the individual employee on modifying the employee’s business hours and/or scheduling the telework.  It is important for managers to use this discretion wisely and appropriately. Not all positions are conducive to teleworking or flexible schedules. Teleworking should be limited to situations in which an employee is subject to quarantine.  While now is a time that we encourage managers to be flexible, decisions around telework & flexible schedules must be reasonable.  Managers should consult with their immediate supervisor as necessary.  Employees must follow telework and flextime policies except that a manager can waive the requirement to complete an agreement and may use email to confirm approval to telework.

For Patient Care Providers

What can I expect if I become febrile while at work and have lower respiratory symptoms and have NOT recently traveled to a high-risk area or been exposed within last 14 days?

You will be asked to wear a surgical mask. Your care team will also wear masks, eye shield/goggles.

Your health care needs will be assessed, and you will be questioned about your symptoms, recent travel and potential exposure in an isolated room. Physicians and nurses will provide the necessary care for your situation, but you will only be hospitalized or require quarantine if they feel you may have contracted COVID-19.

Do I need an N-95 mask?

In most cases, team members, patients and visitors who are not in high-risk areas or in direct contact with high-risk patients will not benefit from wearing an N-95 mask.

Will I be covered by Worker’s Compensation if I have been identified to provide direct patient care or interaction with patients or others who have the disease, and I become infected in the course of performing my duties?

If an employee contracts the disease in the course of their employment, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation.  In particular, this may be an option if the employees’ work requires them to be exposed to persons who are infected.  If an employee incidentally contracts the disease from a co-worker, there likely will be no workers’ compensation liability.

Please contact Employee Health immediately if you are an employee of the health system and please contact DOAS immediately if you are an employee of the University.  Employee Health can be contacted by calling 706-721-3418.  DOAS may be reached by calling 404-656-9484.

Am I at high risk for COVID-19?

Our clinical team is working diligently to ensure that the patients are receiving the highest quality care in accordance with the procedures and protocols established by the CDC and the Georgia Department of Health. We are also working directly with employees who are responsible for patient care. Please do not hesitate to contact Employee Health, Human Resources or your manager if you have COVID-19 symptoms and you’ve possibly been exposed to the virus.

What can I do to avoid COVID 19?

Follow the CDC guidelines. Focus on handwashing, cough and sneeze etiquette and cleanliness of your areas.

Since Augusta University is an international community, what precautions are being taken by Human Resources as new employees arrive from abroad?

Human Resources welcomes all new employees and asks the same questions of all regarding recent travel by employees and/or members of their family to determine if self-quarantine is recommended or warranted.

Are precautionary measures being considered/undertaken when planning for Visiting Lecturers, Applicants, Grand Rounds speakers, etc.?

While no specific organizational response has been communicated, it may be recommended to inquire about the guest(s) recent travel to an area affected by widespread community transmission of COVID-19 to determine if a postponement may be recommended or warranted.

Are there plans to modify work stations/areas to reduce contact with other employees as a precautionary measure?

Each manager will review and make any necessary changes to work areas. If an employee is concerned about his/her work station/area, he/she should consult with their manager.

What can managers across the organization do to help Augusta University be prepared for Coronavirus? 

Like any emergency situation, managers should have a standing assessment of their team to know which employees are considered essential to continuation of services and which employees may be in a reserve category. All employees of the Augusta University Health System and any of its related entities are considered essential given our patient care mission and our 24/7 operation.  For the university, some employees are essential because their duties need to be performed regardless of an emergency or other urgent event, whereas others may have been designated as reserved by their manager. Managers should have this information already and should consult with their immediate supervisor if such a determination has not been made for the department.  An employee in a reserved status may be called upon to assist other areas if the need arises.

Are there things I can do now to prepare myself and my family in the event of an outbreak in my community?

Everyone has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy. We will continue to need staff here in our health system to continue the excellent care we provide to our patients. There are actions you can take now to prepare yourself, your family and our community. Follow public health official recommendations for community actions designed to help keep people healthy, reduce exposures to COVID-19 and slow the spread of the disease. The CDC encourages household members to prepare for the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak in their community. We encourage employees to

  1. Create a household plan of action
  2. Practice good personal health habits and plan for home-based actions
  3. Be prepared if your child’s school or childcare facility is temporarily dismissed
  4. Plan for potential changes within your work unit or department. Additional details are available at the CDC website

 

Remember, if you work in the health system, you are considered essential personnel and will be expected to meet your regular work schedule. Please work directly with your manager on any scheduling needs.

What are the current travel plans/restrictions for business and advice related to personal travel?


Due to the fluid nature of this pandemic, employees should strongly consider limiting personal travel at this time. In the health system, we will need all direct patient care providers and ancillary staff to assist in caring for our patients. If you voluntarily choose to travel to highly impacted areas, you will be subject to a mandatory quarantine for 14 days for the health and safety of our patient population. Your manager will need to know of your travel plans, and the manager will need to communicate when and where you will be traveling to Employee Health, as well as your planned return to work date, for tracking and follow-up purposes.

It is recommended that employees delay travel plans to countries categorized as Level II or higher under the guidance of the CDC. In addition, it is recommended that employees critically review any travel plans that could result in exposure. The situation is currently very fluid and travel restrictions today could be different by the time one travels and is returning home; thus, employees should plan for possible changes.

Managers and employees should discuss future business travel plans and review the most recent CDC guidelines for high risk classified areas. Business travel should be cancelled unless approved by your director, who will be required to secure approval from his/or her VP based on essential business needs. Managers will have the authority to rescind prior travel approval. All employees should exercise good judgment in evaluating travel.

Everyone should keep up to date on the CDC guidelines around travel

If I travel outside of the U.S., when can I return to work?

Employees returning from countries with known outbreak categorized by the CDC as Level II or higher must quarantine for a period of 14 days before returning to work. Employees will need to use paid time off, sick or annual leave during the quarantine period and be cleared by Employee Health before returning to work. For university employees, per the USG, the normal cascading rules for leave will apply. For health system employees, the normal cascading rules for leave will also apply.

Faculty

Instructional Continuity

The Center for Instructional Innovation (CII) will assist faculty in transitioning all face-to-face courses to online formats in preparation for the resumption of instruction.  Learn more about building an Instructional Continuity Plan

USG Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between seasonal flu and novel coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses and there are different types of coronaviruses within that family, much like there are different types of influenza viruses. In the United States, there are common coronaviruses that circulate every year, which usually cause upper respiratory tract illnesses much like the common cold. Coronaviruses tend to circulate in the fall and winter months, like influenza. Most people get infected with these viruses at some point in their lives. The coronavirus that has recently emerged in Wuhan, China is a new type of coronavirus. 2019-nCoV and is infecting people for the first time, which means that people do not have immunity to it.

What should students or faculty who have recently traveled to China do?

Because of the ever-expanding global outbreak, the federal government recently announced that all individuals (which may include students, faculty, or staff) who have traveled to China in the past 14 days and returned on or after Feb. 3, 2020, will be requested to remain at home and be monitored for 2019-nCoV symptoms by the Georgia Department of Public Health. School and university students, faculty or staff whose family members have traveled from China in the last 14 days (and are being monitored for symptoms) do not need to be excluded from school.

What are common symptoms of 2019-nCOV?

Symptoms of nCoV infection include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Some infected individuals go on to develop pneumonia requiring hospitalization. Severity of symptoms can span from asymptomatic or mild illness to severe or fatal illness

How is 2019-nCoV spread?

Novel coronavirus is spread like other respiratory illnesses, such as the flu and the common cold, through coughing or sneezing by those who already have symptoms. There have also been reports of rare spread from an infected patient with no symptoms to a close contact.

How is 2019-nCoV treated?

Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for the new coronavirus. There is no vaccine to prevent this virus, and the CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to it.

Patients & Clinical Visitors

What is Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Learn about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (CDC)

Am I at risk?

For the general U.S. public, the immediate risk from COVID-19 is considered low. Unless you have recently traveled to China, Japan, South Korea, Italy or Iran, or you have been exposed to someone currently being evaluated/treated for COVID-19, your risk is very low. At this time, seasonal influenza remains a far greater risk to the general population than COVID-19.

Could that change?

Yes. Right now, risk in the U.S. is low. According to the CDC, this is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment changes daily. For the latest updates, see Coronavirus Disease 2019.

How is COVID-19 spread?

There is much more to learn about how COVID-19 is spread and investigations are ongoing. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that mainly spread though respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory viruses spread.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 are very similar to influenza and have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Read more about COVID-19 symptoms here.

What should I do if I think someone in my family has been exposed to someone with COVID-19?

If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel from China, Japan, South Korea, Italy or Iran, you should contact your medical provider immediately. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. Your healthcare provider will coordinate safe treatment and testing based on recommendations from your state’s public health department and CDC.

There is information for people who have had close contact with a person confirmed to have, or is being evaluated for, COVID-19 infection available online.

Experiencing fever, cough and shortness of breath?

COVID-19 Virtual Screenings are available. Visit augustahealth.org/covid19 to receive a free virtual screening.  AU Health encourages those who are sick or show symptoms of COVID-19 to use the health system’s new remote screening tool, available for free on the website and as a mobile app for Apple and Android, or to call the health system COVID-19 hotline at 706-721-1852.

Does AU Health perform tests to detect COVID-19?

No, AU Health is aggressively pursuing the ability to test for COVID-19. As of today, we will work with local and state health departments and CDC to determine if testing is required based on your  symptoms and potential exposures. If a decision is made to test, we will collect specimens that will be shipped to the CDC for testing. At this time, diagnostic testing can be conducted only at CDC.

How can I help protect myself?

Practice good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, including frequent hand washing and covering coughs, and frequently clean surfaces such as doorknobs and phones. Visit the CDC’s treatment and prevention page to learn about how to protect yourself from respiratory illnesses.

Should I still receive care or visit the hospital?

Yes, we manage infectious diseases like coronavirus everyday in our hospitals under prescribed infection control protocols. At this time, there is no additional risk to patients or visitors of our hospitals and clinics.

What is the hospital’s visitation policy?

Children under age 18 and those who show signs of respiratory illness may not visit the hospital unless for an appointment or treatment. Additionally, to reduce risk of exposure, patients are limited to one guest. Patients, family, guests and others coming into the hospital and clinics will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, and asked about potential exposure to COVID-19.

What if I or a family member recently traveled to China, Japan, South Korea, Italy or Iran, and got sick?

If you were in China, Japan, South Korea, Italy or Iran, and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after leaving, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. But before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Not travel while sick.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others.

Is there a vaccine?

Currently, there is no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19, although a global effort to find an effective vaccine is currently underway.

What are the treatments?

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 infection; however, people infected with the virus should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.

Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating COVID-19?

No; antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. COVID-19 is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment. However, if you are hospitalized for COVID-19, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

Sources: CDCWorld Health Organization (WHO), and Pennsylvania Department of Health

Entrance Closures

For the Media

Contact us

Call 706-522-3023 to reach the on-call media relations representative. For other questions, email mediarelations@augusta.edu.

COVID-19 expert

Dr. Jose Vazquez is an infectious disease specialist at Augusta University Medical Center. Contact him for media inquiries regarding COVID-19.

Experts in the news

Previous
Next

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University and AU Health. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

Read on for stories of innovation in education and health care, opportunities at the center of Georgia’s new cybersecurity hub, and experiential learning that blends arts and application, humanities and the health sciences.