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Coronavirus Campus Communication 3/5/2020

Coronavirus Campus Communication 3/5/2020

To: Students, Faculty and Staff
Date: March 5, 2020
Re: Campus Communication on Coronavirus

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

Developments involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) can happen quickly.  We write to keep you informed and share that there are two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Bergen County.  The New Jersey Department of Health is waiting on further analysis by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to confirm the positive results.  Our thoughts are with the patients and their families for a full recovery from the virus.  We understand that news of the virus being present in the county, which Ramapo College calls home, might be upsetting to you.  The patients are isolated in a hospital setting and there is no known risk to our campus. At this time, there are no cases of COVID-19 at Ramapo College.

Ramapo College Men’s Volleyball
Overnight, we also came to understand that a student at Yeshiva University in New York, New York tested positive for COVID-19.  Ramapo College’s Men’s Volleyball team hosted the Yeshiva University Men’s Volleyball team on Sunday, March 1st for a game at the Bradley Center.  The Yeshiva University patient is not a member of their volleyball team and has had no known contact with the Yeshiva University players.  Today, the Associate Director of Health Services received support from the Bergen County Department of Health.  We learned that the Ramapo College volleyball players, coaches, and spectators at the March 1st game are at no risk since they never came in contact with the patient from Yeshiva University.  Yeshiva University plays in our volleyball conference, so will continue to monitor the situation closely and be ready to take action should the situation need.

Information about COVID-19
According to the New Jersey Department of Health, the common symptoms of COVID-19 are cough, fever, and shortness of breath.  COVID-19 presents with signs and symptoms that may be indistinguishable from much more common respiratory viruses. However, COVID-19 is only acquired if there has been close contact with a person in the last 14 days who is diagnosed with the virus or if you have a history of travel from a geographic area within 14 days of your symptom onset.  According to the CDC, close contacts are defined as persons within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) or within the room or care area of a confirmed case patient for a prolonged period of time, or with direct contact with infectious secretions while the case patient was likely to be infectious (beginning 1 day prior to illness onset and continuing until resolution of illness).

What To Do If You Feel Sickness of Any Kind
According to the recommendations from the Centers of Disease Control and the New Jersey Department of Health, if a student or employee becomes sick with any flu like symptoms, you are encouraged to take a proactive stance against contracting or spreading respiratory illnesses. In particular; cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into your sleeve (not your hands), wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; and stay home if you feel sick.

We cannot overstate how important good healthy habits are in order to take everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of any respiratory viruses. The Centers for Disease Control advocates that in order to reduce your chance of getting ill, that you clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work, or school.  You should get plenty of sleep, remain physically active, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious foods.

The CDC has indicated that the current risk, of contracting COVID-19, to the American public is low – at this time.   The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff are our top priority and will remain at the forefront of our response.   We will continue to keep the campus updated as the situation warrants.  If you have questions, please contact Health Services at 201-684-7536.

Sincerely,

Melissa Van Der Wall
Dean of Students
Pandemic Assessment Team, Chair

Debra Lukacsko, MSN, BA, RN, APN, C
Associate Director of Health Services
Pandemic Assessment Team, Member