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COVID-19 is a disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. It is now found in countries around the world, so it is called a pandemic. Two other previously identified human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, are known to cause severe illness.

The virus is transmitted mostly through person-to-person contact. It's found in respiratory droplets produced when an infected person talks, sings, coughs, or sneezes. These droplets then are inhaled or land in the mouth, nose, or eye of a nearby person, causing an infection.

Community spread is present In Ann Arbor and the state of Michigan, which means we are all at risk. A person can have COVID-19 and have no symptoms but still may transmit the virus, called asymptomatic transmission. Risk increases with close contact: the longer time you spend with an infected person and the nearer you are, the higher your risk of getting infected.

The virus may also be transmitted by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching one's own mouth, nose, or possibly eyes. It's also possible that the virus can spread to humans from animals or pets.

Vaccination for COVID-19 is available.

COVID-19 is preventable with simple precautions:

  • Stay home if you are ill - see Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 if You Are Sick (PDF) from the CDC.
  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth
  • 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 people who are sick.
  • Maintain 6 feet of distance between yourself and anyone outside your household, whether they appear to be sick or not.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

See also:

Certain medical conditions can increase your risk for illness or death from COVID-19 including heart, lung, liver, or kidney disease. There is also increased risk for those above sixty years of age, and those with diabetes, pregnancy, or sickle cell anemia. Those with compromised immune systems or cancer can also be at increased risk. Smoking and vaping can make it harder for your lungs to fight COVID-19, so now is a great time to stop if you haven't already -- see You Can Quit for resources.

If you are immunocompromised or medically vulnerable, here are ways to reduce your risk. Also, we reserve appointments on Mondays from 8-9am for those who are immunocompromised or medically vulnerable. For more information, you may call UHS at 734-764-8320.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and range from mild to severe. Not everyone who is infected develops symptoms. Symptoms may include the following, however this list does not include all symptoms:

  • Fever, chills, or repeated shaking with chills (also known as rigors)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Inform your health care provider, who can advise you and offer if testing is appropriate. U-M students and other UHS patients can call 734-764-8320, day or night.
  • See Ten Things You Can Do to Manage at Home (PDF) from the CDC.
  • Most young adults develop only mild symptoms that require no treatment other than hydration, non-prescription fever reducers, and time.
  • During this time, stay home and isolate yourself from others to reduce the risk of transmission:
    • Leave your home only to get health care.
    • If you have roommates or housemates, you should try to confine yourself to your bedroom. Ideally you would also have your own bathroom.
    • Try to avoid entering the common spaces of the house, such as the kitchen or living room. If you must enter a common space, maintain social distance, wear a mask and wash your hands.
    • Ask a friend to deliver groceries or food at your doorstep or order from one of the various grocery or restaurant delivery service (see resources at bottom of page)

Close contact is defined by CDC as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic clients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection).

Close contact is defined as follows:

  • Being less than 6 feet apart for brief encounters that total 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period.
  • Being coughed or sneezed on.
  • Hugging or kissing.
  • Sharing utensils or drinking glasses.
  • Roommate, intimate partner, or caregiver.

If you were tested for COVID-19 outside of U-M (outside Michigan Medicine or University Health Service), please report your test, to help us assess the impact of COVID-19 on our campus communities. See Report COVID Test Results.

For this reason, appointments are now required for all clinic visits, and telehealth services are also available. Learn additional ways we protect your safety, and how you can do your part:

UHS is coordinating with Washtenaw County Public Health, Michigan Medicine, the Provost Office, Global Michigan, the International Center, University Housing and other university stakeholders regarding prevention and response.

It's easy to get a flu shot on campus, and there's no out-of-pocket expense for U-M students. A flu shot will help you stay healthy and protect those around you from flu. And because flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, we highly recommend the flu vaccine to prevent respiratory illness​. See Flu and Vaccination for options.

Campus resources

Other local resources

  • Food Gatherers is a local non-profit that provides free food across Washtenaw County. Website provides a map of food pick-up sites.
  • Grocery Delivery:
    • Instacart
    • Shipt
    • Meijer
    • Kroger app - options for delivery and shipping
    • WholeFoods through Amazon - doesn’t require Prime; many affordable store brand options

Information on this page was adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Michigan Medicine.

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keep calm and protect your friends