Coronavirus update - February 11, 2020
Dear Members of the BHCC Community,
Sent on behalf of President Eddinger, Provost/Vice President Canniff, and CFO/Vice President Pitcher
We are closely monitoring the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) to ensure that appropriate measures are being taken to keep the College safe. To date, there have been 12 confirmed cases in the U.S., including one in Boston. As of now, according to the public health authorities, there is a low risk to the general public. As a standard procedure that is documented in the College’s Emergency Operation Plan, the Emergency Management Team has been monitoring this situation and at a meeting held on February 10, 2020, the Level 1 - Pre-event Planning section (which includes communicating and monitoring health alert updates from Federal, State, and Local agencies) of the Annex H: Pandemic and Disease Outbreak was reviewed as part of the Emergency Operation Plan.
We are working on creating a resource webpage for BHCC and will continue to provide updated information in a variety of communication channels to the BHCC Community.
The two main resource sites for the novel coronavirus are the CDC and Mass.gov:
Thank you for partnering to keep the College and community safe.
Source: All-College Email
Coronavirus update - February 3, 2020
Following the Trump Administration’s declaration of a Public Health Emergency concerning the coronavirus on Friday, January 31, 2020, the administration announced over the weekend additional emergency measures, including:
Foreign nationals other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have traveled in China in the last 14 days will be denied entry into the United States.
- U.S. citizens who have traveled to Hubei province, where the virus originated, will be held under mandatory quarantine for 14 days after they return to the US.
- U.S. citizens who have recently traveled to other parts of China will undergo health screening upon entry into the country and will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. Self-quarantine rules would require individuals to stay in their homes, monitor themselves for certain symptoms such as coughing, and check their temperatures and report this information to local health officials.
- All commercial flights from China shall be restricted to U.S. airports in one of seven cities - New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Honolulu.
These emergency measures were announced by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and took effect on Sunday, February 2, 2020, at 5 p.m. Since this announcement, the number of cases in the U.S. has risen to eleven, including a confirmed case at UMASS Boston involving a student who recently visited Wuhan, China, which is part of Hubei province. The new travel and quarantine measures were established, in part, based on Friday’s announcement by U.S. officials that screening tests for coronavirus are not always accurate and that people with no symptoms can transmit the virus.
Source: All-College Email
Coronavirus update - January 31, 2020
The World Health Organization (WHO) declares the new coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. (https://www.who.int/)
The U.S. State Department has upgraded its travel advisory for all of China to “Level 4: Do Not Travel,” the highest travel advisory level. Previously, only Hubei province, where the virus is believed to have originated, was designated as a “Level 4: Do No Travel” zone.
Some U.S. Senators are urging the White House to implement a ban on all travel to and from China, as well as to put in place more stringent screenings at U.S. airports.
Source: All-College Email
Memorandum - January 29, 2020
Dear Members of the BHCC Community:
There is much concern over the outbreak of the coronavirus in China and recent reports of cases in thirteen other countries, including the United States, where there are currently five confirmed cases (two in California, one in Arizona, one in Washington, and one in Illinois). Although the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated the risk to the U.S. public is low, the CDC recommends that you use reasonable precautions in order to maintain your health and prevent the spread of all respiratory conditions, including:
- Wash your 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;
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
- Stay home when you are sick;
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; and
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
To further assist and educate the public concerning the virus, the CDC has established a coronavirus website that includes a wealth of information including: information about the transmission, symptoms, prevention and treatment of the virus; frequently asked questions and answers (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html); guidance for travelers; and information for health care professionals. To access the CDC’s coronavirus website, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. Additionally, the CDC has raised its travel advisory for China to the highest level - "Level 3 Warning." This status urges travelers to avoid all nonessential travel to the country. (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-china). Previously, only Hubei province, the epicenter for the coronavirus, carried the Level 3 designation. The CDC's new travel precautions shortly followed the U.S. State Department raising its own travel advisory for most of China to "Level 3: Reconsider Travel," with Hubei province rated "Level 4: Do not travel" (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/china-travel-advisory.html).
In Massachusetts, the Department of Public Health (DPH) has also issued guidance concerning the virus, which can be found at:https://www.mass.gov/clinical-advisory/update-and-interim-guidance-on-outbreak-of-2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-in. According to the guidance, the current risk to Massachusetts residents is low. However, as a precaution, Boston’s Logan International Airport has announced that it will begin screening travelers from any country that has confirmed coronavirus cases. If an individual presents symptoms of the virus (i.e., fever, shortness of breath and cough), they will be placed in isolation and assessed further.
If you have recently traveled to or from China, or have come in contact with someone who has contracted the coronavirus, you are directed to contact Denise Amerena (firstname.lastname@example.org; (617) 228-2185, Charlestown Campus, E-154), the College’s Health Officer, and/or the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at (617) 983-6800.
Thank you for your attention in this important matter of public/community health.