Miami University, state health officials discuss possible coronavirus cases

UPDATE @ 2:46 p.m.:

An Ohio Department of Health official said that the two Miami University students at the main campus with possible cases of coronavirus are in isolation, but have not been quarantined.

The students do not require hospital care at this time, said Dr. Amy Acton.

RELATED: Opponents request to postpone Miami U. basketball games amid coronavirus scare

She added that the Ohio Department of Health has been working closely with the CDC and that the infection is “low risk.”

Miami said it is maintaining its regular class schedule in an email to the university community.

However, the Miami men’s home basketball game for Tuesday night against Central Michigan University, and the women’s home basketball game for Wednesday night against Western Michigan University were postponed, both at the request of the opposing teams.

Travel history or direct contact with someone who has a travel history in the Wuhan area are key in investigating potential cases of coronavirus, said Acton.

She said that the public should continue to take “normal precautions,” such as washing hands and staying home from work or school if you feel unwell.

Jennifer Bailer, health commissioner of the Butler County General Health District asked that anyone who has a travel history and is concerned that they may have coronavirus to call ahead before going to urgent care or the doctor to see if there is a specific entrance or procedure that needs to be followed.

There are three samples that are requested for testing for coronavirus: a blood draw, nasal swab and respiratory sample. The samples are then sent to the CDC for testing.

The CDC is the only department that can test for coronavirus and it takes at least 48 hours for results.

Officials also stressed that the public remain compassionate with others as the cases are investigated.

At least one of the students in isolation is an international student. Of Miami University’s 17,000 students, international students make up about 10% of the student population, according to the university.


Butler County and Miami University officials are investigating two possible cases of coronavirus at its main campus.

The people had recently traveled to and returned from China, officials said. They are in isolation and “not severely ill,” officials said in a news release.

Samples from their tests were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday.

Officials said that, unless someone has recently traveled from China or been near someone ill with the new virus, their risk is low.

In an email to the Miami community, officials said a student went to the Student Health Services with “very mild symptoms” on Monday after recently traveling to China. The student “met the criteria for 2019-Coronavirus testing,” and officials expect results from the CDC “in the coming days.”

The student and his traveling companion are being isolated in their off-campus residence awaiting the test results, the email said.

Miami has set up a call center for those seeking more information. That number is 513-529-9000.

Miami also announced on Tuesday that its men's basketball game scheduled for today and women's basketball game scheduled for Wednesday have been postponed to a date to be determined later. The school did not give a reason for the postponements.

The Miami system enrolled 2,334 students from China in fall 2019, which makes it by far the largest foreign student population. The No. 2 country is Vietnam, with 108 students enrolled at Miami. Students come from 82 countries, according to the school.

About a dozen Miami University Regional campus students in Hamilton and Middletown list their residence near the area in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, where the outbreak began in December, according to school officials. It’s unclear how many of those students returned home for winter break and how many remained in the U.S.

Miami students had a six-week break from the fall to spring semester, which began classes on Monday. Final exams for the fall semester ended on Dec. 14.

Officials are asking those who traveled to China and are experiencing symptoms to contact their doctor before traveling to the doctor’s office. Miami students experiencing the same are asked to contact Student Health Services at 513-529-3000 before seeking care.

The Butler County General Health District has produced a fact sheet about the virus.

“This is what public health does and why we train,” Jennifer Bailer, health commissioner for the Butler County General Health District, said in a news release. “Our staff, officials at Miami University and the Ohio Department of Health are taking every precaution to keep the community safe.

“The same precautions that protect against catching and spreading the flu are likely to be helpful for this respiratory virus: Wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your nose and eyes, cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze and don’t go to work if ill. Displaying compassion to all people will be vital as the situation evolves.”


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