To the Campus Community:
The news media has been devoting a fair amount of coverage to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). In anticipation of questions or concerns you may have as a result, I write to share how the college is working with public health officials and the steps you can take to stay healthy.
First, it’s important to acknowledge that at this moment, the seasonal flu is the main public health concern in our region. Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers 2019-nCoV to be a serious health concern based on current information, the immediate health risk to the general U.S. public is considered low at this time. The C DC and the World Health Organization are closely monitoring the national and global situation and providing ongoing guidance.
The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) has provided specific guidance for the management of anyone who has returned to New Jersey after recent travel to areas with known transmission of 2019-nCoV.
The best way to prevent infection of 2019-nCoV or other viruses like seasonal flu is to avoid exposure. The CDC recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands frequently 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.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- While there is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection, you can still get a seasonal flu shot if you haven’t done so already. Again, seasonal flu is widespread in New Jersey and the best action you can take is to get vaccinated.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing and sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Stay home (in your residence) until you have been fever-free, without using fever-reducing medicines, for 24 hours, and minimize contact with others (this is why having a fever thermometer is important).
- Do not go to class, the Library, club meetings, the Student Center, work, or dining venues. You are contagious!
- Drink plenty of water and other clear liquids to prevent fluid loss (dehydration).
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that you have touched. Cold and flu viruses are relatively fragile, so standard cleaning and disinfecting wipes are sufficient to remove or kill them.
- If you are very sick, or are at high risk of serious flu complications (e.g., asthma, diabetes, heart conditions), see a healthcare provider right away for possible treatment with a flu antiviral medication.
In addition to the above measures:
- Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.