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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

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The University of Miami Health System continues to closely monitoring the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. University and health system leaders are working closely with government and public health agencies and continue to follow guidelines from the U.S. Department of State, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.

If you are looking to schedule or have an upcoming appointment at the University of Miami Health System, please visit our patient information site.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the novel coronavirus behind the global respiratory illness outbreak. First reported in December 2019 in China, the disease has rapidly spread to many countries, including the United States.

Coronavirus COVID19 CDC
Photo: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

According to the CDC, these symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills and/or shivering
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

If you are experiencing symptoms, please call 305-243-4000.
Seek medical attention immediately if you (or a loved one) develop the following, which may be a sign of more serious illness:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or difficulty waking up
  • Bluish lips or face

If you call 911, please tell the operator that you have or may have COVID-19. Wear a face covering to the hospital if possible.


Who is most at risk?

Based on preliminary findings, it appears that certain populations may be more prone to developing a severe illness and death. These include people who:

  • Are aged 60 or older.
  • Have an underlying medical condition, like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, hypertension, or cancer.

COVID-19 Cases in the U.S.

For daily updates on the number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States, visit the CDC website.

In addition, you can find the current statistics at the World Health Organization.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and officials believe that COVID-19 will continue to spread, so it is important to stay alert. For the latest information on cases in Florida, visit the Florida Department of Health.


How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus is spread from human to human contact most likely within 6 feet. When someone is ill, and they cough or sneeze, the virus can be passed to someone else through the saliva droplets in the air which can land on or be inhaled by people nearby.

It is not yet known how long COVID-19 can live on surfaces or if someone who is asymptomatic can also spread the disease. The incubation period, or the time between when someone is infected to when they start to show symptoms, is thought to be anywhere from 2 to 14 days.

According to the CDC, the virus is easily transmitted, and the outbreak has transitioned into “community spread.” This means that there are now cases in the U.S. that cannot be traced back to how or where the infection occurred.


Where can I be tested for COVID-19?

South Florida residents who wish to seek additional information about COVID-19 testing, should refer to their local county's web site for testing criteria, locations and hours of operation.


Are there treatments for COVID-19?

Currently, there are no treatments or vaccines for the virus. However, there is already a clinical trial for a potential anti-viral medication and researchers are working diligently on producing a vaccine.


Prevention starts with you

Give yourself the best chance to not get sick. You’ll find that they are the same things that everyone should be doing already to protect against the flu or common cold. They are also something you can do to help your community by making it harder for COVID-19 to spread.

  1. Wash your hands. This is one of the most important things you can do – regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Clean surfaces regularly with disinfectant, particularly of heavily used items like desks, phones, doorknobs, etc.
  3. Avoid touching your face, especially your nose, mouth and eyes.
  4. Stay home if you are sick.
  5. If you have to sneeze, cough or blow your nose, use a tissue and immediately throw it away in a closed bin. 

Community level prevention

If COVID-19 is spreading within your community, public health officials may ask you to take extra precautions. These might include:

  • Social distancing: keeping at least 6 feet between you and others.
  • Stay home if someone else in your household is sick so that you do not pass the virus to others.
  • Cancel or postpone events with large crowds.
  • Set up a separate room for sick household members.
  • Check in with family and friends who live alone — especially if they have chronic diseases.
  • Ask friends and family to check in with you if you become sick.

COVID-19 Research at the University of Miami

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is actively engaged in a wide array of COVID-19 research. To read more about the clinical and community-based research that our faculty and staff are leading, please click here.


Ways You Can Help

We are humbled by the generosity of the members of our community who have asked how they can help support our staff and patients during the outbreak. With your help, we can make a difference in the lives of our patients, healthcare workers, researchers, staff members and our community.




Additional resources

Since this situation changes regularly, it is important to keep up-to-date. However, there are many inaccurate sources of information out there. In addition to listening to your local officials, these sites have many resources on the current status of the COVID-19 epidemic and how to protect yourself and your community.

The Florida Department of Health has set up a hotline for people in Florida who have questions about COVID-19. The call center is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. The number is 866-779-6121. Or, email COVID-19@flhealth.gov.


Resources for University of Miami faculty, staff, and students