This message was sent to students returning from Casa Artom on March 5:

The CDC, as of March 3, 2020, updated its recommendations concerning recent travel from Italy (specifically from Lombardi and Veneto). In addition to the items listed in the email sent to you March 2, the recommendations now include “social distancing” (staying home, limiting contact with others) and monitoring your health daily (checking your temperature twice daily, and watching for symptoms of the coronavirus) for 14 days after returning to the United States. Please see detailed information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concerning this.

The symptoms and signs of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever (100.4F/38C or higher)
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Achiness and fatigue

If you develop any of these symptoms after returning from Venice, you should contact your primary care physician at home, or your local health department (list of contact numbers) to discuss how to be evaluated. Be sure to report your symptoms and that you were in Venice when you call. It is very important that you call ahead before seeking medical care if you develop these symptoms and avoid contact with anyone except for your medical provider until evaluated.

The incubation period (the time from exposure to the onset of symptoms) is 14 days or less. Symptoms with onset after this time are unlikely to be related to this virus.

While Venice is technically in the Italian region affected by a COVID-19 outbreak (Veneto), by the time you left Venice there had only been a handful of imported cases and no community transmission in Venice according to our infectious diseases consultants at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the Medical Director of the Forsyth County Health Department Communicable Diseases Division. The involved communities in that region are well outside of Venice and were on lock-down. There is no evidence that you have been exposed to COVID-19 while in Italy, and your risk of having contracted the virus remains low.

Because of the additional recommendations, the Student Health Service will provide a screening questionnaire late next week prior to your returning to campus. This will document if you have had any symptoms or required an evaluation related to your time in Venice. It will also include any recommendations from public health authorities concerning your returning to campus on March 15. A second brief questionnaire will be provided when you arrive on campus. This questionnaire will document that you have remained symptom-free following this initial screening.

As indicated by this message, one of the challenges associated with the coronavirus situation is that things are changing very rapidly; the recommendations in place currently might change as new information is gained. You are encouraged to stay alert to recommendations from the CDC.

The Student Health Service clinic will be closed next week. If you have any questions about this message, please send an email to This address is monitored regularly.


Cecil D. Price, MD
Director, WFU Student Health Service