February 27, 2020
The outbreak of the COVID-19 respiratory disease has now been detected in 42 locations internationally. Cases have been documented in the United States, including California. However, the Centers for Disease Control reports that for the general American public the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is still considered low at this time. To date, there are no known cases of the disease at El Camino College.
If there is suspicion of an active COVID-19 case on campus, faculty, staff, and students should contact the Student Health Center by phone. Please have the student available to speak on the phone, if possible. The criteria are: fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath with recent travel to mainland China or close contact with a confirmed case. When the Student Health Center is closed, faculty, staff, and students should call the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health directly at 213-240-7941 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.) or 213-974-1234 (after hours) and follow their instructions. Faculty have been asked to work with students who may have to miss class due to quarantines or social isolation due to travel.
Because the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, both globally and to the U.S., we should exercise caution and practice good hygiene. This includes:
- Washing 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, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Staying home when you are sick.
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Another important reminder: while outbreaks like this understandably cause fear and concern, there’s no place for bullying or stigmatization of Chinese and other Asian community members. We must be proactive and focus on facts, not fear.
The California Department of Public Health has issued specific guidance to colleges and universities regarding COVID-19. That information is available here.