FAQs about the coronavirus (COVID-19)

General FAQs

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. There are some coronaviruses that commonly circulate in humans. These viruses cause mild to moderate respiratory illness, although rarely they can cause severe disease. 

COVID-19 is closely related to two other animal coronaviruses that have caused outbreaks in people—the SARS coronavirus and the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) coronavirus.

COVID-19 and the flu are both infectious respiratory illnesses, but they’re caused by different viruses.

The flu can be prevented with a vaccine and treated with antiviral drugs, but there is no vaccine for COVID-19 at this time.

The first COVID-19 case was reported in Santa Clara County on Jan. 31. The earliest cases were in individuals who had recently been to China, who had close contact with someone already infected, or who had been passengers on the cruise ship Diamond Princess, the source of a large outbreak off the coast of Japan.

Since the first case in California, there has been a spread of the virus, now affecting several counties and nearby cities.

Administrators and health professionals are closely monitoring all developments related to COVID-19 and will update the campus community as the situation evolves. The university is abiding by guidance outlined by the Alameda County Public Health DepartmentContra Costa County Health ServicesCDCCalifornia Department of Public Health
The most common symptoms are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. 

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. This is why it is important to stay more than three feet away from  anyone who is sick.

It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).

The main way the disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing. The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low. However, many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. This is particularly true in the early stages of the disease.   

If a person develops symptoms of COVID-19 and has reason to believe they may have been exposed, they should call their health care provider or local health department before seeking care. Contacting them in advance will make sure that people can get the care they need without putting others at risk. Please be sure to tell your health care provider about your signs, symptoms and travel history. If you suspect that you may have COVID-19, or need testing because of a known exposure, please call your healthcare provider or local hospital, as testing is not available at SHCS.

These are the closest hospitals to Cal State East Bay’s Hayward campus:

These are the closest hospitals to Cal State East Bay’s Concord campus:

  • Wash your hands. Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice).  Use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available. 
  • Cover your cough. Use a tissue and throw it in the trash. Sneeze or cough into your sleeve or shoulder if you do not have a tissue. 
  • Clean frequently used surfaces, especially desks, light switches, phones and doorknobs. 
  • Avoid close contact with sick people. 
  • Monitor your fever and flu-like symptoms (over 100.4 F is a fever). 
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Stay home if you are not feeling well. 
  • Try to stay in good health. Get plenty of sleep. Drink a lot of water. Be physically active. Manage stress. Eat nutritious foods.