Health Center implements screening procedures for coronavirus
The Health Center has begun monitoring the coronavirus and implementing protocols for testing, screening and care.
The Golding Health Center is monitoring the coronavirus and communicating with emergency response, public health and other college health networks nearby, according to Administrative Director Diana Denning.
In her Jan. 31 email to the Justice, Denning said that the Health Center has implemented “screening protocols, testing protocols, care and transport protocols as well as communication protocols.”
In an email sent to the Brandeis community on Thursday, the Health Center urged students who had “been to Wuhan in the past 14 days OR have had close contact with someone who has contracted this virus in the last 14 days AND are exhibiting symptoms of fever, shortness or breath, or coughing” to take steps listed in the email, including reducing contact with others through self isolation. The Health Center advises students to call (781)-736-3677 for advice on any further steps. Faculty and staff are advised to contact their primary care physician and to make a follow-up call to the Health Center so that the Center is aware.
The 2019 novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, was first reported in Wuhan, China in December of 2019. The first case of person-to-person spread of the virus in the United States was on Thursday, the same day that the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that “while person-to-person spread among close contacts has been detected with this virus, at this time this virus is NOT currently spreading in the community in the United States.” On Jan. 21, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency for the United States.
On Saturday, the first case of the coronavirus was confirmed in Massachusetts. The person is a student at the University of Massachusetts Boston and had recently returned from Wuhan, China. After returning to the United States, the student immediately sought medical attention and is currently in isolation, according to the Massachusetts Department of Health’s press release. The press release said that “close contacts” of the student “have been identified and are being monitored for any signs of symptoms.” Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said that “the risk to the public from the 2019 novel coronavirus remains low in Massachusetts.”
The New York Times reported Monday afternoon that three people in New York City are being tested for coronavirus and that the results of the testing may not be confirmed for a few days. Currently, many states have to send their tests to CDC facilities to be tested. However, according to a New York Times article, the CDC plans to release health kits to states so that testing for the coronavirus does not take as long.
The Health Center reminded students in the Thursday email that influenza activity remains elevated in the Boston area. To protect against the illness or to keep it from spreading, the Health Center advised community members to get a flu shot, wash their hands frequently, cover their cough and wear a mask to reduce airborne spread of the illness.
If community members plan to travel, the Health Center urged them to review the CDC Travel Health Notice for up-to-date information. The CDC issued a Level 3 travel warning for American citizens to “avoid all nonessential travel to China,” and on Friday the Department of State raised its travel advisory for China to “Level 4: Do Not Travel.” During the Spring 2020 semester, there are no Brandeis undergraduate students studying abroad in mainland China, according to the Health Center.
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