January 23, 2020
Dear Reed community,
I write to share information about the recent outbreak of pneumonia caused by a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that has been concentrated in Wuhan, China. Some of you might have seen news reports that a resident of Washington state was identified as having the virus. To our knowledge, there have been no reports of infection in Oregon. As of January 17, 2020, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is screening all passengers flying from Wuhan to the US through major US airports, including, but not limited to, San Francisco, JFK, and LAX. China is also screening all travelers exiting the country and has initiated a quarantine of Wuhan.
The situation is evolving; here is what we know about the virus at this point:
- The virus has mainly affected people who frequented a seafood/animal market in Wuhan and those who have come in contact with those infected at the market.
- Because the market has many animals who could have potentially been infected, the thought is that there may be transmission between animals and people.
- Cases have now been reported in Japan, Thailand, South Korea, and the US--suggesting that there is also person-to-person transmission.
- Most at risk are older adults, those with underlying medical conditions, and those who are immunocompromised.
Students, staff, or faculty who have traveled in China, especially to Wuhan on or after December 1, 2019, or those who have been exposed to persons who have a confirmed diagnosis of 2019-nCoV AND who areput on a surgical mask;
- stay away from others; exhibiting, fever, cough, and difficulty breathing should be considered possibly infected with 2019-nCoV. Anyone exhibiting these symptoms should:
- practice good hygiene by washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- cover your mouth with a tissue or your arm, not your hands, when coughing;
- seek medical care;
- call first to make a medical appointment, communicate your symptoms and travel history, and refrain from lingering in the lobby where there may be others with increased risk.
If you are a student or concerned about a student, follow the steps above. Students can call the Health and Counseling Center (HCC) at 503-777-7281 and arrange for a medical evaluation. If the HCC suspects that there may be a case of 2019-nCoV, they will contact the Multnomah County Health Department and follow their instructions. Currently, the CDC is the only organization doing the relevant testing.
Timothie Rochon, DNP, RN, CNM
Medical Services Director