• The Southwestern

Two cases in Oklahoma - SWOSU is preparing for Coronavirus

Updated: Jun 11

First Oklahoma universities are announcing campus closing - How is SWOSU handling the situation?



Two men in Macau with masks. So far, there have been two cases of the Coronovirus in Oklahoma. Photo provided by Unsplash (Macau Photo Agency).

By Chief Kendra Brown, updated by Johannes Becht


The Coronavirus is spreading more and more around the world and also across the United States. As of March 12, there are 1,323 confirmed cases in the U.S. and many more cases pending.


So far, cases have been registered especially in New York (216), Washington state (373), and California (179), and 38 people have died from the virus in the U.S. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, the first case of coronavirus in the Sooner State has been confirmed.


A top U.S. CDC official said on Tuesday, Feb. 25, that an outbreak is inevitable in the United States.


“CDC is concerned about the situation but we are putting our concerns to work preparing,” the official said. “Now is the time for hospitals, schools and everyday people to begin preparing as well.”


The number of outbreak in the U.S. is likely to skyrocket within the next two weeks, among others due to the upcoming Spring Break.


How is SWOSU and other universities in Oklahoma handling the situation?


"SWOSU is relying on CDC, U.S. Department of State, and other global health organizations for guidance about university-related travel, including study abroad programs. Due to the rapidly changing nature of the virus outbreaks, we are fully aware that new areas can be identified very quickly that might lead to further restrictions at any time."


Furthermore, SWOSU does not authorize university travel to any region with a State Department Level 3 travel advisory or a CDC Level 3 advisory. Such countries include China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy.


Major Oklahoma universities such as University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, and Oklahoma City University have announced to hold classes online after Spring Break for at least two weeks, according to KFOR. The University of Central Oklahoma has extended its Spring Break for one week. As long as no new developments occur, SWOSU students are expected to return to campus on March 23 without any restrictions.


What is the worst case?


It is, however, not unlikely that there will be cases of the virus on campus after Spring Break. In this case, Spring Break could be extended for one week, or campus could be closed altogether with classes being held online. It is, however, unclear, whether campus closing would also include dormitories.


In the event of a public health threat with significant impact on public safety, the Custer County Public Health and Medical System Emergency Response Plan will be activated. This plan coordinates state and local resources to partner on the incident.


What can I do?


First - don't panic. The virus is not dangerous in most cases. The highest morality rate is among people who are 80 years and older (21.9%). If you are young, you'll probably be fine, even if you get the virus.


Second - wash your hands regularly, 20 seconds minimum. If no soap is available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching mouth, eyes, and nose and having close contact with people who appear to be sick.


Symptoms include fever and lower respiratory illness. If you exhibit signs within 14 days of travel to a country with a global health emergency, please reach out. If you have health concerns related to flu-like symptoms, contact University Health Services at 580-774-3776 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.


Masks are available upon request from the SWSOU Health and Wellness Center to avoid spread of illness.


Can I track the virus?


Johns Hopkins University has created a map that is tracking the virus around the world (mobile version below):



Mobile version:




SWOSU is continuously monitoring this outbreak. Please let SWOSU PD know if you have any questions or concerns, at 580-774-3111.

© All material is the property of SWOSU Media Production, Southwestern Oklahoma State University