March 4, 2020
This morning, Los Angeles County declared a local health emergency after six new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed Tuesday night. This brings the total of known COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County to seven. Officials stressed that the primary purpose of this health emergency declaration is not to incite fear. Rather, it is to allow Los Angeles County to better access needed resources from across government agencies, as an official declaration allows for additional funding to be released. “I want to reiterate this is not a response rooted in panic,” said County Supervisor Kathryn Barger at a news briefing today. “We need every tool at our disposal.”
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has also posted updated guidelines for colleges and universities. Among its recommendations is the development of institutional action plans in the event of increased community transmission of COVID-19. El Camino College is following these recommendations, with the formation of a campus task force currently underway. This work group will hold its first meeting Friday to begin work on plans designed to ensure the safety of students and employees, communicate vital information, and manage any variety of disruption to our students, employees, and operations. To date, there are no known cases of the disease at El Camino College.
Practicing good hygiene remains critically important at this time. All members of the campus community are urged to follow these guidelines:
- 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% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- 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 throwing the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
If there is suspicion of an active COVID-19 case on campus, faculty, staff, and students are to contact the Student Health Center by phone at 310-660-3643. Please have the student available to speak on the phone, if possible. The criteria are: fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath with history of international travel in the past 14 days or close contact with a confirmed case. When the Student Health Center is closed, faculty, staff, and students are to 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.