Over the weekend, the first Kentucky cases of Coronavirus (or COVID-19) were reported, including one case in Jefferson County. The other Kentucky cases are in Fayette and Harrison counties, and there have also been two cases in Indiana. The outbreak of Coronavirus continues to be a growing concern in our country and around the globe, as the first deaths from the virus in the United States have been reported in the last couple weeks in Washington State, California and Florida.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are closely monitoring this developing situation, and Spalding administrators are following the CDC and WHO for announcements and recommendations. The Kentucky governor’s office and Louisville mayor’s office are also beginning to have regular public briefings with updates and announcements, and Spalding will share important local information.
There continues to be no known threat to the Spalding university campus at this time, and so far there is no disruption to our operating and academic schedules.
We are currently unaware of any students, faculty or staff having traveled recently to one of the countries that, due to the Coronavirus, is currently under a CDC travel notice – China (Level 3), Iran (Level 3), Italy (Level 3), South Korea (Level 3), Japan (Level 2) or Hong Kong (Level 1). If you are a student who has made plans to travel to one of these countries under a CDC travel notice – or if you have traveled to one of these countries recently – you are required to notify the Spalding Dean of Students at 502-873-4488 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a Spalding employee who plans to travel to one of these countries or has traveled to one of them recently, you are required to notify the Human Resources Department at 502-873-4350 or email@example.com.
On Sunday, the U.S. State Department also issued an advisory that Americans, particularly those with underlying health conditions, should not travel on cruise ships.
Spring session break is next week, and it’s traditionally a time when many students are traveling. If you plan to travel domestically or abroad, please exercise caution, and we recommend that all members of the Spalding community follow the same strategies they would ordinarily use to protect themselves and others during a normal cold and flu season. (SEE BELOW FOR GUIDANCE ON PREVENTION)
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to those of the flu or even a common cold, including fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness such as cough and difficulty breathing. In some cases, the virus has led to more severe lower respiratory tract illnesses, including bronchitis and pneumonia. If you are experiencing symptoms, you are strongly encouraged to stay home and contact your medical provider for advice, calling ahead before you visit. If you have been traveling and develop symptoms, please avoid campus and self-quarantine for 14 days.
Most every building on campus has standing or wall-mounted hand-sanitizer dispensers that are usually located near the entrances and elevators. Make a point of using these dispensers when you pass by them.
To reiterate, there is no known threat to our campus, but practicing good hygiene and hand-washing and staying home if you’re feeling sick are important precautions to protect yourself and others. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed.
Here is guidance on prevention from the Kentucky Department of Public Health:
- 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 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. To avoid coughing into your hands, you can cough into your elbow.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; use clean tissues.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick (fever, cough, sneeze, and difficulty breathing). To avoid close contact, stay at least six feet away from others.
- Stay home if you feel sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- The CDC website has a wealth of information on the Coronavirus and COVID-19.
- Louisville Metro Covid-19 Resource Center with tips on prevention and testing.