Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
As you know, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that it was declaring the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency. We are writing to tell you how Gallaudet is responding to this situation. Please know that our highest priority is to ensure your health and safety. One way for us to do this is to provide you with as much information as possible.
Background. The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) originated last month in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. This is a new coronavirus. As of Friday morning Beijing time, over 9,000 people in China have been affected. More than 80 cases have been reported outside China. There are six confirmed cases in the United States – in Arizona, California, Illinois, and Washington State. In all but one of these cases, the people involved had recently traveled to Wuhan. In the sixth case, the virus was transmitted from one person to another.
U.S. response. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is monitoring the coronavirus outbreak very closely. According to CDC, it is unclear how easily or sustainability this virus is spreading between people. For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus, the immediate risk from 2019-nCoV is considered low. At the same time, this is an evolving situation. We encourage you to monitor the CDC website and news reports.
The U.S. Department of State has elevated its travel advisory for China to “Level 4: Do not travel.”
Who should be tested. CDC has identified specific factors that would warrant testing for the coronavirus: recent travel to China, close contact with a confirmed case or suspected case of new coronavirus, fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Testing. CDC believes that the symptoms of the coronavirus may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Once samples arrive at the CDC for testing, it can take four to six hours to diagnose a case of coronavirus.
Prevention. Here are several preventative measures you can take to remain healthy. These tips are applicable for any communicable disease, and should be part of your daily routine.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. Dispose of used tissues in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Summary. Again, the health and safety of our entire community is our highest priority. We will continue to keep you informed.
Chair, Crisis Leadership Team
Vice Chair, Crisis Leadership Team