Frequently asked questions

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing respiratory illness in people and others circulating among animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people. Previous coronavirus outbreaks have included severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Community transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 continues to increase locally, in our region and in Kenya at large.

Transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) primarily occurs through close person-to-person contact (within about 1.5 m) through:

  1. Respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks
    Those respiratory droplets landing in the mouths, noses or eyes or being inhaled into the lungs
  2. COVID-19 can also be spread by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes.
  3. It is important to remember that COVID-19 may be spread by an infected person who is not showing any symptoms and therefor does not know they have the virus. Asymptomatic transmission is now known not to be prevalent.
  4. Scientists and health-care providers are still learning about COVID-19, including how the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads. For more information, about COVID 19 in Kenya, please visit the Ministry of Health Website.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 infection are fever, cough and shortness of breath. These can be symptoms of other respiratory illnesses, as well as COVID-19. Symptoms of COVID-19 infection include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
    If you have any of these symptoms, stay home. Contact your health-care provider for medical guidance and to discuss getting tested.
    Please do not show up at a clinic, urgent care, emergency room or other health-care facility without contacting them first.
  • It is understandable that some community members including staff and students may be concerned. If you would like to talk with someone, support is available to students and staff through the University counselling services:
    You can help prevent the spread of colds and other viral ailments by doing the following:
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Additionally, physical distancing is vital to slowing the COVID-19 outbreak – don’t gather in groups and maintain 1.5 m of distance from other people when you have to be in public

There is concern that some people in our communities may be experiencing stigmatization or discrimination based on racial bias or appearances. Please help others understand that the risk of coronavirus is not at all connected with race, ethnicity or nationality.
Stigma doesn’t fight the illness and will hurt innocent people, but sharing accurate information during a time of heightened concern is one of the best things we can do to keep rumor and misinformation from spreading. Public Health — County Health Department has compiled resources for combating stigmatization, bias and xenophobia that can be used to prevent and respond to incidents of discrimination. If you know of incidents of bias related to the novel coronavirus, please use the appropriate bias reporting tool to notify the PU COVID 19 response Team.