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Updated Information about Coronavirus

February 05, 2020

To: The Campus Community
From: John Y. Tsai, MD, Medical Director of Student Wellness Services;
Julia M. McCallin, Associate Vice President for Human Resources
Date: February 5, 2020

Please note: there is currently no identified risk on the Caltech campus, and the risk to the general population remains low.

Caltech continues to work closely with the Pasadena Public Health Department and is following guidance released on February 3 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the risk assessment of individuals with potential coronavirus exposure due to travel or contact with infected persons.

The information and resources in this email are being shared on a precautionary basis; Caltech Student Wellness Services and Human Resources staff are monitoring this rapidly evolving situation closely and will provide regular updates on Caltech's Coronavirus Information page and in the weekly Ion Caltech community emails.

According to the CDC, travelers who had contact with a confirmed case of 2019-nCoV or have visited the Hubei province of China within the last 14 days are reasonably believed to have a high risk of exposure to 2019-nCoV based on the scope and magnitude of the epidemic in those areas. If you have visited the Hubei province within the last 14 days:

  • Students should contact Student Wellness Services (626-395-6393) to receive further instructions.
  • Faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, visitors, and other affiliates should contact their primary care physician for further instructions, as well as notify Dr. John Tsai, Medical Director of Student Wellness Services (626-395-6393), to ensure that the Institute can offer appropriate assistance during any quarantine period.

Travelers who have visited mainland China within the last 14 days, entering the United States prior to February 3 and absent respiratory symptoms, fever, or contact with a confirmed case of 2019-nCoV are not subject to a self-quarantine period. Students, Faculty and Staff must follow the Institute's guidelines regarding nondiscrimination as outlined in the Nondiscrimination and Equal Employment Opportunity policy.

Managers and supervisors seeking further guidance on addressing potential issues with employees should reference the Temporary Personnel Memorandum on the Human Resources website.

The U.S. Department of State has elevated its travel advisory to Level 4: Do Not Travel to China. The CDC recommendation as of 02/03/2020 and going forward is for travelers from mainland China outside Hubei Province who were not exposed to a person with 2019-nCov infection, to remain at home or in a comparable setting to the extent possible and avoid areas where large groups of people congregate, limit public activities, and practice social distancing. These travelers will be under Department of Public Health monitoring. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has also placed a temporary ban on entry into the United States for foreign nationals (other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents) who have been to mainland China in the last 14 days.

Additionally, we are advising you get a flu shot to protect against influenza and to follow these CDC actions that help prevent the spread of all viruses, including 2019-nCoV: 

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) or wear a mask when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Do this frequently, and certainly after sneezing, coughing, or before/after touching your face.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible.
  • Avoid contact with others who are sick and do not travel while sick. 
  • Get an influenza vaccine if you have not already done so.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.