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2/24/2020 - General Updates

As of February 24, 2020, there continues to be no identified risk of COVID-19 on the Caltech campus and the risk to the general population remains low as per the Public Health Department.

This is an evolving and rapidly emerging situation. There is an increasing number of cases outside of China.

There are new travel warnings for travelers to Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea from the CDC.


02/21/2020 CDC Briefing from Dr. Nancy Messonnier:

"We're not seeing spread here in the United States yet, but it is possible, even likely, that it may eventually happen. Our goal continues to be slowing the introduction of the virus into the U.S. This buys us more time to prepare our communities for more cases and possibly sustained spread.

This new virus represents a tremendous public health threat. We don't yet have a vaccine for this novel virus, nor do we have a medicine to treat it specifically. We are taking and will continue to take aggressive action to reduce the impact of this virus, that it will have on the communities in the U.S. We are working with state, local, and territorial health departments to ready our public health work force to respond to local cases and the possibility this outbreak could become a pandemic. We are working closely with health care systems across the country to reinforce infection control principles and plans for surges of people seeking and requiring care. We're collaborating with supply chain partners to understand what medical supplies are needed and available. This will help CDC understand when we may need to take more aggressive measures to ensure that health care workers on the front lines have access to the supplies they need. We're working with businesses, hospitals, pharmacies, clinicians, manufacturers, and distributors to communicate about these measures and what they can do to get ready.…

If you're watching the news, you may be hearing about schools shutting down and businesses closing in countries in Asia to reduce the potential spread of this virus. The day may come where we need to implement such measures in the U.S. communities. By next week, we expect to be posting a new web page focused on what CDC is already doing to mitigate transmission in communities. We recognize the uncertainty of the current situation. As always, CDC public health experts strive to make the best recommendations based on the most up to date data."

Access the full transcript and audio telebriefing.

While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:

  • It's currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • If you have been in China or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity. Please follow instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow spread of this virus.
  • If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, contact your healthcare provider, and tell them about your symptoms and your travel or exposure to a COVID-19 patient.