I wanted to take this opportunity to provide the campus with an update on the novel coronavirus outbreak. As you may have seen in the latest news coverage, novel coronavirus has now spread to additional regions across the world including Japan, South Korea, and Italy.
Orange County still has only one confirmed case of novel coronavirus. That case has no evidence of person-to-person transmission and risk of infection to the public in Orange County is still considered to be low, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
On Wednesday afternoon, Orange County Supervisors Michelle Steel and Andrew Do declared a local emergency concerning the coronavirus. This declaration does not indicate a greater risk of contracting the virus locally. Rather, it is a measure that will enable officials to assemble resources and personnel to expedite emergency planning measures and boost their ability to deploy a rapid response team, should an outbreak occur. San Diego County made a similar declaration on February 14, and San Francisco declared a state of emergency on February 25.
At IVC, we remain committed to the health and welfare of our students, faculty, and staff. While the risk to the IVC campus currently remains low, we remain vigilant in monitoring this rapidly evolving situation. On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advised businesses, hospitals, and communities to begin preparing themselves for the potential spread of novel coronavirus into the United States. As such, I have formed a team at IVC to develop a comprehensive pandemic preparedness plan that will ensure we have protocols in place to help prevent the spread of the virus should it enter into our region.
It is vital to keep in mind best practices for staying well and consider your risk of exposure to the virus through daily interactions and travel activity. This is critically important as spring break is around the corner and many students, faculty, and staff are making plans to travel. While medical experts advise that the risk is low if you are traveling to a country where there are few or no cases of novel coronavirus, it is emphasized that you should evaluate your trip each day and look for any updates from the local authorities and from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). If your immediate upcoming travels include any impacted destinations, I would ask you to seriously heed our advice and consider your plans carefully.
As a reminder, to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including the coronavirus and flu, it is advisable to follow these important tips:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- 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.
- Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.
Thank you for your cooperation and support. I will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as necessary.
Stay well, study hard, and know how much you are valued. We are IVC!
Cindy Vyskocil, Ed.D.
Irvine Valley College