Skip to content

Other ways to search: Events Calendar | UTHSC News

Update March 7, 2020

The leadership of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga and Erlanger Health System are meeting regularly to determine the appropriate response and action plan to address a potential Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic if it were to spread and impact the Chattanooga and surrounding communities. We acknowledge and understand that many of you may feel anxiety and uncertainty, but we will be transparent in relaying what we know and do not know as information becomes available. We encourage you to check in with one another, including your Chief Resident, mentor or advisor, Program Director, or the Deans, DIO, and Graduate Medical Education Office.  Please remember that we have resources available for your emotional health via several options. These are listed at the end of the Coronavirus COVID-19 Resources page via the link on the left-hand menu.  

The University will follow The Centers for Disease Control guidelines for involvement in managing COVID-19 patients for each campus.  Also the UT College of Medicine Chattanooga will also follow UTHSC and Erlanger policies regarding Resident, Fellow, Medical Student, and PA Student involvement in the care of these patients as soon as the policies have been modified for this evolving situation.  We will continue to update this page as more information is made known to us. 

According to the CDC, at this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it. Nonpharmaceutical interventions would be the most important response strategy.   Healthcare providers should refrain from panic and observe appropriate CDC recommended guidelines including handwashing.  Wash your hands thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds, and often.  The CDC recommends that healthcare providers treating patients confirmed with or under observation for COVID-19 should follow CDC guidelines for the donning and doffing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Standard Precautions, Contact Precautions, Airborne Precautions, as well as wearing Protective Eye Gear. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in almost 90 locations internationally, including in the United States. The virus has been named "SARS-CoV-2" and the disease it causes has been named "coronavirus disease 2019" (abbreviated "COVID-19"). 

There is much that we do not know about the novel coronavirus yet, so any information or advice offered here is based on the best available information and will be updated frequently as more information becomes available. In many cases, the best information or advice we can provide has to be based on expert knowledge of similar respiratory viruses and the infections they cause. 

This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and CDC will provide updated information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance.   As these sources are updated frequently, we may be given recommendations that change over time as we learn more. 

On Friday, March 6, 2020, Steve Schwab, MD, Chancellor for the statewide University of Tennessee Health Science Center, communicated with all faculty, staff, and students to update on the UTHSC response to the rapidly evolving situation related to the COVID-19 virus.  He stated that, "Although we are unaware of any confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus or in the Memphis area, we must plan for the possibility of an outbreak.  A case has been reported in Tennessee in the Nashville area.   It is important to note, the vast majority of people who get the COVID-19 virus recover. We will be prepared and do our part to protect our campus and community, and continue our missions of education, research, clinical care, and outreach through unsettling times."
He further stated that, "Under the direction of the Executive Vice Chancellor, Dr. Ken Brown, the campus Emergency Operations Center is now mobilized, and the policy group is meeting regularly in order to respond to a rapidly changing scenario. Dr. Lori Gonzalez is working with the colleges to develop continuity plans for the academic mission in the event of a major regional outbreak.
One of the most concerning issues we are dealing with at the current time is travel outside of the United States. To protect the campus community, please review and adhere to the information presented below.
International Travel

Beginning today the university is suspending all international travel. If you have plans for university-affiliated international travel in March, please cancel it. International travel beyond March is suspended indefinitely. Please do not book any new university-affiliated international travel until further notice.
We understand this is a hardship, and also want to do our part to contain the spread of the virus, and protect our employees and community in a travel landscape that is changing quickly and unpredictably.
The UT System communication provides guidance on reimbursement or expenses and other details regarding international travel. Please refer to the link above for specific information.   

If you are overseas and arrive home in the coming weeks, please contact your supervisor and follow all CDC guidelines, which may involve being quarantined at home for 14 days. We will contact all UTHSC students currently on an international training rotation with instructions.

If there is a circumstance where university-related international travel must occur, please submit an exception to Dr. Ken Brown, Executive Vice Chancellor.   

We encourage you to curtail personal international travel. If you do travel internationally for personal reasons, we ask you to inform the Office of International Affairs via this link and you are required to follow any CDC-recommended self-isolation guidelines before coming back to campus. If you travel for personal reasons, and have trouble abroad or need to isolate at home when you return, please understand you are responsible for your time and expenses. We will communicate immediately as new information emerges." 

May 26, 2022