We continue to monitor information and expert recommendations regarding the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This message includes information shared by Columbia University. Their latest update can be found at https://preparedness.columbia.edu/.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea, among other places. Currently, there are no known cases in the New York area and no known cases involving our students, faculty, staff, or affiliates. Presently, the immediate health risk to the Union community and neighboring institutions is considered low, however, we are working closely with Columbia Health and will continue to assess the situation and keep you updated if the current level of concern changes. Following the recommendations of local, state, and national health authorities, we have not made any changes to classes, activities, operations, and events on campuses. Please know, however, that planning is underway should there be any new impacts to the remainder of the semester, spring break, and summer sessions. The next meeting of the Columbia University Infectious Disease working group, of which we are a member, is scheduled for Friday, February 28, 2020. We will continue to update you regularly.
Steps you can take to protect your health:
Wash your hands frequently; avoid contact with sick people; avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose; get plenty of sleep; manage stress; clean high-touch surfaces with disinfectant wipes; drink plenty of fluids and please stay home from classes or work if you are sick. Get a flu shot to help protect yourself from the seasonal flu. Students, if you are not feeling well, please call 212-854-7426 for Columbia Health Morningside Medical Services, Barnard’s Primary Care Health Service at 212-854-2091 or contact your primary care clinician. Staff/faculty, please contact your primary care clinician.
We encourage students not to travel internationally over March break and Easter break, especially to already impacted countries, to avoid any possible requirement for being quarantined – which could impact your ability to keep up with coursework. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Warning (the highest level of warning), urging all U.S. residents to avoid nonessential travel to South Korea. The CDC has also issued Alert Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions for Iran, Italy, and Japan. The CDC says that, “these destinations are experiencing sustained community transmission… Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel.”
Columbia has published a series of FAQs around COVID-19 and will continue to update the website as needed.
Below are links to additional resources for more information:
- Columbia Preparedness
- World Health Organization (WHO) Information about Coronavirus
- US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Situation Summary
- NYC Department of Health Information About Coronavirus
As always, the health and well-being of our community is our highest priority.