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Monitoring the Coronavirus Outbreak

*Published January 27, 2020

This letter was published and shared on January 27, 2020. This is a rapidly changing situation and Salem State University is closely monitoring developments of the Coronavirus outbreak. Learn the latest updates.

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Salem State University is actively monitoring developments related to the newly detected coronavirus, an illness first discovered in Wuhan, China, that is similar to pneumonia, affecting the respiratory system.

At this time, there are no reported cases in Massachusetts, however there are several confirmed cases in the United States. The confirmed cases are in Illinois, California, Arizona and Washington state. There are also dozens of suspected cases across the United States and several of these are pending findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

University officials, including counseling and health services, are closely monitoring this rapidly evolving situation and will continue to assess new information as it is released. The CDC has provided the following with respect to steps that are being taken:

  1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring this situation and is working with the World Health Organization (WHO).
  2. The U.S. State Department has issued its highest travel advisory—a Level 4—advising U.S. citizens not to travel to the Chinese province of Hubei, home to Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
  3. The CDC is performing enhanced health screenings at several U.S. airports where flights arrive directly from Wuhan, China, including San Francisco, New York’s JFK Airport, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago.

Because this is a relatively novel virus, our focus at this time is educating our community about prevention, detection and treatment. Please review the following information closely to learn more about the virus.

Who is at risk?

  • Those who have been in Wuhan, China, in the last 14 days
  • Those who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus via diagnostic testing

What are the symptoms?

According to the CDC, symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. The most common symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough

How is the virus spread?

It is spread from person to person through saliva or through droplets in the air when someone coughs or sneezes.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • 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 throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Who should I contact if I think I may have come into contact with someone with the virus or have symptoms?

If you have been to Wuhan recently or have had close contact with someone who contracted the virus and you exhibit any of the symptoms, please contact your primary care physician. Students are receiving a similar email and have been urged to contact health services if they have symptoms.

To learn more about the coronavirus, visit To review additional prevention methods, visit the CDC Prevention page. Learn more about travel guidance.

We will continue to keep our community up to date on any new developments.

Thank you,

Gene Labonte

Assistant Vice President, Public Safety and Risk Management

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