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Coronavirus case has some ASU students wearing facemasks

A Change.org petition is calling on the school to cancel classes, but the petition is based on some bad information.

TEMPE, Ariz. — A case of 2019 novel coronavirus has been confirmed in Maricopa County. Arizona State University said a member of their community has been diagnosed. 

However, we don’t know if it’s a student or faculty member. 

Despite that, many students at the main campus tell us they’re not taking any chances.

"It's just a precaution like she said, better to be safe than sorry," one student said.

Some students at ASU's Tempe Campus are on alert after getting an email from the provost confirming the coronavirus case in the ASU community.

"I just know it's a safety precaution and I just really don't want to get coronavirus," another student said.

RELATED: What you need to know now that coronavirus has been confirmed in Arizona

Health officials said the person infected returned from China a little more than a week ago. The patient went to the doctor, got tested, and is currently in isolation but does not live on campus.

"I know my parents are paranoid about me coming back onto campus, so I just decided to listen to what my mom says and just wear a mask," the student said.

Dr. Cara Christ with Arizona Health Services said it can be concerning for parents to hear about this virus spreading.

"I completely understand. Especially as a parent, it is scary to read about these things especially if you have an ASU student," she said.

Facemasks are designed to block any splashes or sprays, so they should help keep infectious droplets from spreading. 

But they're meant to be worn by a person with the illness. If you're wearing one to protect yourself, they might not do any good. 

"I'd rather take the step now than have to worry about something later," a student said.

Experts stress the coronavirus is much less of a threat than our raging flu season. You can protect yourself in similar ways by:

  • Keeping your distance from anyone coughing or sneezing
  • Go to the doctor if you feel sick: an early diagnosis helps.
  • And, wash your hands a lot, and avoid touching your face!

 At ASU, some students are willing to sacrifice style in order to sidestep a potentially deadly virus.

"I feel like a lot of people are staring at us, but I don't care," a student said.

Health officials said we’re more likely to catch the regular flu, but that's not stopping a Change.org petition from making its way around calling on the school to cancel classes. 

But that’s not happening, as ASU again stresses that the immediate risk is believed to be low.

RELATED: Health officials confirm coronavirus case in Arizona