Provost: Additional Updates on COVID-19, Feb. 1
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.