2/26/20: Monitoring Coronavirus


Dear Southwestern Faculty, Staff, and Students,

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its guidance on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

As of today, the CDC is reporting that the virus is NOT spreading in the United States. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has confirmed only one case of COVID-19 in Los Angeles. According to both of these agencies, the immediate risk from COVID-19 is low for workers in non-healthcare settings. However, the CDC also is reporting that more cases are likely to be identified in the coming days in the United States and that person-to-person spread within the United States may occur.  In any event, we will continue to closely monitor this situation and provide updates as needed to the Southwestern community.

In areas where the COVID-19 virus is spreading, it is transmitted through:

  • Respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes;
  • Close personal contact, such as caring for an infected person; and
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.

If you have traveled abroad recently or have been in close contact with people who have recently traveled, please visit your medical provider or emergency room immediately if you are experiencing these symptoms: fever, cough, and breathing difficulty.

While the immediate risk of this virus in the United States is believed to be low at this time, we are also in the middle of flu season. Here are a few tips for what you can do to keep yourself and others healthy during this time:

  • Stay home when you’re sick or have flu-like symptoms. If you have symptoms of acute respiratory illness, please stay home and do not come to work or class until you are free of fever (100.4° F or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). 
  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Practice healthy habits (get enough sleep, exercise, liquids, etc.)

We emphasize how important it is not to come to school or work if you are sick.  If you are feeling mildly ill and are weighing whether to come to campus, please err on the side of health and safety and stay at home until you have been symptom-free for at least 24 hours. For students who miss class due to illness in this period, please rest assured that medical absences are given great weight in the application of Southwestern’s attendance policy.  If you have any questions about the application of Southwestern’s attendance policy, please contact the Dean of Students Office.

Please visit the following websites for more information:

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about

LA County Health: http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus

Let’s work together to keep everyone healthy.