Princeton, Cornell University students in self-isolation amid coronavirus fears

PRINCETON, New Jersey (WABC) -- Students from Princeton University who traveled to China within the last two weeks are being asked to self isolate amid growing concerns of coronavirus.

A spokesperson with Princeton said that as of Sunday, 108 students were in self isolation. By Monday evening, the number dropped to fewer than 20 students who were still being assessed.

Additionally, an off-campus student from Cornell University presented symptoms that met criteria for testing and is currently in isolation receiving safe and ongoing care. It may take a week for that student to learn the results.

Experts say because the strain is so new to the world stage, there is not much the public can do except wash hands frequently, seek medical help immediately if presented with symptoms, and of course, avoid travel to Wuhan -- considered the ground zero for coronavirus.

Princeton said students, faculty and staff who traveled to mainland China within the last 14 days must self-isolate until 14 days have passed since they were last in China.

The school is requiring that anyone who returned from mainland China since Jan. 16 to fill out a registration form so the university can provide them with assistance.

They are assessing the exposure risk of each person who has been in self-quarantine and placing them into risk categories: high, medium or low.

A spokesperson explained:

"Individuals who are determined to be at low risk are not required to self-quarantine. We expect most of our students to fall into this category. The University will continue to support individuals who choose to self-quarantine. However, those at low risk may resume all activities, including attending classes and events.

Princeton also announced that until further notice, no students, faculty or staff will be approved to travel to mainland China as part of a university-sponsored program.

"We recognize that self-isolation is a very challenging situation for our students and are working to fully support them while following guidance from government and health officials. These students are valued members of the University community, and we are committed to ensuring they are treated as such through this difficult time," a Princeton spokesperson said Monday.

The virus has sickened more than 17,000 globally, killed more than 300, and infected at least eleven people in the U.S. as of Sunday.

There are currently three patients in New York City being tested for coronavirus.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported that at least 11 cases from New York have come back negative from the CDC.

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