In an effort to combat the new coronavirus, nursing students at the University of Texas at Tyler Longview University Center are joining in efforts to raise awareness about how to stay healthy.

An eight-student task force was created by clinical faculty member Anita Lowe. The group will grow after spring break, which is this week, she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website said it is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by coronavirus.

The outbreak started in Wuhan, China, but cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States, according to the website.

On Friday, the CDC reported 164 total cases in 19 states in the U.S., according to its website. The U.S. had reported 11 deaths as of Friday.

The students drafted two radio public service announcements and created six posters that will be distributed to each the three UT Tyler campuses — Longview, Tyler and Palestine. Lowe said students will then distribute the copies of the posters to the appropriate locations.

Lowe said each poster addresses a different community: English and Spanish versions for the general population; the elderly and chronically ill; young adults and teenagers; those pregnant and breastfeeding; and school-aged children.

“For the elderly, we want to be sure that they don’t go into crowded public spaces, that they don’t stop taking any of their medications, and they get the flu vaccine,” she said. “That’s really important, because it helps with their overall health and well-being.”

Local schools have released plans for students about preventing the spread of disease.

Lowe said the task force plans to speak with students at the university’s Innovation Academy on March 17. They will plan dates at other schools, as well.

Generally, people should practice hand washing, sanitizing and coughing into the bend of the arm, she said.

Nursing student Jessica O’Brien said one of the best ways people can prevent the spread of illness is to stay home when sick.

“There’s a lot of pressure for us to go into work and send our kids to school,” she said. “But if you have a fever, you know you’re contagious. And you’re also putting stress on your body, and you can get sick longer or get more sick than you already are.”

Longview nursing coordinator Debbie Crumpler said a high fever is one of the symptoms to look for in the new coronavirus.

“That’s kind of a red flag,” she said. “If you have a high fever, then you’re supposed to stay at home, contact your health care provider and self-isolate.”

Lowe said the information students will distribute is based on the most current and research-based literature from the CDC.

“This is just an effort to help our community stay healthy,” she said.