Novel coronavirus update - Feb. 20, 2020

February 19, 2020

Marmian Grimes

This is a weekly update to the UAF community about the 2019 novel coronavirus. There are still no confirmed or suspected cases in Alaska.

At UAF, our efforts at this time are primarily focused on maintaining situational awareness, gathering information, and considering plans for a potential outbreak at UAF.

  • We continue to monitor Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and U.S. Centers for Disease Control channels for up-to-date information and guidance.

  • We are participating in twice-weekly teleconferences hosted by the Alaska DHSS.

  • Along with emergency managers across the UA system, we have begun discussing the implications of quarantine and employment issues with legal counsel.

  • We have begun formulating plans for a website to consolidate and distribute information about the coronavirus.

  • We have begun developing a framework for providing guidance to faculty and students.

While there is no indication that the virus has made its way to Alaska, the emergence of this virus worldwide is a good reminder that prevention is one of the best defenses against respiratory diseases, including this one caused by this virus, the flu and the common cold:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water; if not available, use hand sanitizer.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.

  • If you’re sick, stay home and avoid close contact with others and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

  • Get a flu shot if you haven’t yet this season.

There are still no passenger flights arriving in Alaska from China and the U.S. State Department and the CDC are still advising Americans not to travel to China. All passenger flights from China are being routed to one of 11 screening airports in the Lower 48.

Regular updates on this evolving situation will be published in Cornerstone, and any major changes to the situation will be posted on UAF on Alert. You may also want to review these sources for more guidance and information:

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
Centers for Disease Control