Coronavirus Updates Shared with Andrews Community
Messages from administration highlight preventative healthy practices
Our vice president for Campus & Student Life, Frances Faehner, and our provost, Christon Arthur, have shared the following messages with the campus community about the Coronavirus public health emergency:
More Specifics About Response to Coronavirus: February 5, 2020
Dear Andrews Community,
I know many of you have read last week’s letters from VP Frances Faehner and me regarding our University’s understanding of and response to the growing impact of 2019-nCoV (simply known as “Coronavirus”).
As I write this letter, there are nearly 25,000 confirmed cases globally. Nearly all of those confirmed cases and all but two of the 490 deaths so far have occurred in Wuhan in the Hubei province of China. This pneumonia-like virus was first formally identified in Wuhan on Dec. 31, 2019.
The virus has now spread to 20 other countries around the world, including the United States. In those countries, there are 170 confirmed cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that there are now 11 cases in the United States, two of those cases representing the first confirmed human-to-human transmission of the virus in this country.
As we respond to the realities and spread of this Coronavirus, Andrews University will work to assure that we, as a campus community, take the right personal steps and University-wide precautions to keep all of us healthy as individuals and as a community. This is especially important during the annual cold and flu season, which has led to between 10,000 and 25,000 deaths this year in the U.S.
We’re also working to ensure that resources are available to our University community to help prevent the spread of illness. This prevention includes expanding our on-campus hand sanitizer stations, which are part of the commonsense advice offered during every cold and flu season.
The most effective steps to help prevent the spread of disease are to regularly wash our hands thoroughly with soap and water, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, avoid touching hard surfaces and avoid touching our faces.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also created a webpage that offers additional advice and posters that communicate these and other basic protection measures each of us should take. We will share some of the posters from WHO in on-campus public places and on-campus flatscreen monitors, with additional information on local healthcare contacts.
As I have talked with colleagues and healthcare professionals about the realities of this new and yet to be fully understood disease, I’m reminded that fear can often accompany that uncertainty.
In that regard, I invite you to review the specific CDC guidelines that inform our response and the response of the Berrien County Health Department, toward those who have traveled recently to mainland China. In particular, if those travelers to mainland China have not been in Wuhan or the Hubei province in mainland China in the last 14 days, self-monitoring for any symptoms of fever or deep coughing and social-distancing (remaining out of public places where close contact with others may occur) are encouraged. If these travelers begin to experience symptoms, they are encouraged to contact the Berrien County Health Department at 269-926-7121.
Additionally, the CDC's current understanding of how the Coronavirus spreads ought to inform our collective response toward risks connected with Coronavirus:
Most often, this Coronavirus spreads from person-to-person and can happen among close contacts (about six feet). Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It’s currently unclear if a person can get 2019-nCoV by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes.
As we respond to this global health crisis, it’s important for us as an Andrews community to understand and communicate the realities of this new disease. Our response should be measured and not be prone to panic. Let us seek to understand and pursue the specific scientific, proactive and personal actions that are known to prevent the spread of disease.
We will continue to monitor and share relevant updates, as well as comply with the latest health organization and government guidelines. For example, there will be no University-sponsored travel to China until further notice.
If you’d like to know more about the 2019-nCoV/Coronavirus, I encourage you to also watch this video from the World Health Organization or read this overview from the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. The CDC also has an excellent Situation Summary on the 2019-nCoV virus at this link.
Thank you for your support, prayers and questions. We will continue to seek guidance and understanding to inform our necessary precautions. We will adhere to the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines as they emerge.
Updates on 2019-nCoV Virus: February 1, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
My colleague, VP Frances Faehner, shared a variety of updates with the Andrews community earlier this week regarding the significant challenges and growing impact of the 2019-nCoV virus (or Coronavirus), which got its start last month in Wuhan, China.
How This Impacts Andrews University and You
As the world responds to this new disease, Andrews University is committed to continuing to understand and effectively respond to this global health emergency. In particular, we want to assure that the University implements all precautions and health measures needed to help keep everyone in our Andrews University family safe.
The University has canceled all upcoming official travel to China in the days to come, and we will continue to take steps to assure that appropriate screening and preventative measures are being taken for students, employees or guests who are at Andrews University, and who might have also traveled to China recently.
As the Coronavirus was identified and began its rapid spread, health screening measures were implemented to include a formal screening process for travelers in China who were traveling within China or internationally from its various transportation hubs.
In the United States, Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is one of 20 U.S. airports approved to evaluate and screen passengers who have recently been in China. These U.S. screenings were established to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Center for Immunization & Respiratory Diseases.
Those screening processes at U.S. airports and other ports of entry will change tomorrow, Sunday, Feb. 2, at 5 p.m., Eastern time, as new restrictions announced on Friday by the U.S. Government take effect. The newly announced restrictions will bar all foreigners from entering the U.S. if they have visited China in the previous 14 days. U.S. citizens, permanent residents and immediate family members who have traveled to China recently will be allowed to enter the United States but will be quarantined for up to two weeks.
Here are a few additional updates on the global impact and spread of this new Coronavirus:
- On Wednesday of this week, the Centers for Disease Control issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice, asking travelers to avoid non-essential travel to China.
- This Thursday the World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus to be a Global Health Emergency.
- On Friday the U.S. Department of State issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory, recommending that individuals should not travel to China.
- Following these travel advisories and restrictions, an increasing number of airlines have suspended travel to China, with those airlines reporting that flights to that country may not resume until late March or April.
As I’m writing this letter, statistics show there are almost 14,000 confirmed Coronavirus cases around the world, with more than 300 deaths (13,801 of those confirmed cases and all 304 reported deaths are in Mainland China). Outside of Mainland China, 12 of those cases are in North America, and in one, a Chicago woman in her 60s who had recently visited Wuhan and contracted the disease passed it on to her husband, even though he had not traveled with her to China. It is the first documented instance of person-to-person transmission of the Coronavirus in the U.S.
At Andrews University, our responses to this global health crisis will continue to be guided by a commitment to effectively respond to the ongoing health needs of our community.
Thank you for the part you’ll play in practicing healthy precautions in the face of this disease, including thorough hand washing and other healthy practices that can help limit or prevent the spread of all of the diseases that mark the winter season.
Our prayers here at Andrews University join with those of our community, and our neighbors around the world, who are facing the global realities, disease and loss due to this new disease.
Campus Health Notice: Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Dear Campus Community,
Andrews University has been following the unfolding public health issues related to the outbreak of pneumonia caused by a new strain of coronavirus, “2019 Novel Coronavirus” (2019-nCov).
The largest impact of this virus has been felt in and around Wuhan, China. The Chinese government has quarantined a territory of 50 million people in an attempt to contain and control the virus’ spread. As of this afternoon, more than 7,344 cases have been identified around the world, with 7,251 of those cases in mainland China. There have been 132 deaths from the effects of the virus, all of them in mainland China.
Five confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV have been identified in the United States and two in Canada. All of these confirmed cases stem from individuals who had specifically traveled to Wuhan City, China, in the recent past.
Currently, there are no suspected or identified cases at Andrews University. However, University personnel, in conjunction with our University Medical Specialties team, are prepared to respond to any cases that may emerge. We will work directly with local and state agencies to monitor the situation and the health of our Andrews University community.
As of Jan. 27, the Centers for Disease Control has issued a Level 3 Warning toAVOID ALL NONESSENTIAL TRAVEL TO CHINA.
All students, faculty or staff considering travel to China in the upcoming months are urged to consult and follow current and future CDC recommendations, including advice to consult your healthcare providers before considering travel to China.
The symptoms of 2019-nCoV can be similar to those of other common viruses like those found in cold and flu season.
As a result, we encourage you to follow the health precautions that are significantly relevant at this time.
Those precautions, which can help prevent the spread of the Novel Coronavirus, the flu, or other viruses, include:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water and for at least 20 seconds
- If soap and water aren’t available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Disinfect surfaces regularly
- Avoid close contact with someone who is sick
- Stay home if you are sick
What To Do If You Are Sick
Students and employees who have symptoms of fever, cough, body aches or difficulty breathing and are feeling concerned should contact University Medical Specialties (residential students) at 269-473-2222 or your local healthcare provider (community students and employees). This especially applies to those who have traveled to China in the last 14 days. If you are seeking care, call ahead to your provider’s office and advise them of your recent travel and symptoms.
We also encourage students to reach out to Campus & Student Life (269-471-3215), the Counseling & Testing Center (269-471-3470), Campus Ministries (269-471-3211) or International Student Services & Programs (269-471-6395) if you have additional, non-medical concerns or questions related to this global health situation.
Additional Information/Resources on 2019-nCoV Virus
World Health Organization (WHO) information about Coronavirus
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Situation Summary
CDC World Map on Confirmed Cases
Updated South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) Summary of Global Impact
Vice President, Campus & Student Life