Coronavirus Update: March 2March 2, 2020
While COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019) has been on our collective minds for a number of months, its presence and impact on our Orange County lives was realized this past weekend. With a confirmed case in New York State and with the additional reality of four more U.S. deaths related to the COVID-19 virus announced today, I felt it important to update the College community about our preparedness at SUNY Orange.
First, know that SUNY Orange was already in an appropriate state of readiness for such a challenge. More than a decade ago, a “pandemic response plan” for the College was created. Although it was not developed for this newly emerged novel coronavirus, the pandemic flu it contemplates (for example, avian bird flu) was similar enough to give us a scientifically and medically sound departure point.
This morning, the Emergency Management Team convened to begin to swiftly but smartly revise and work this plan in light of what we know about COVID-19. We have many resources on which to draw, including but not limited to SUNY-hosted webinars with NY Deputy Commissioner of Public Health Brad Hutton, who today provided us with information on interventions relevant to the higher education community.
I assure you that the entire Emergency Management Team is engaged and preparing to react to a situation whose trajectory is unknown and seems to present new stimuli every few hours.
We understand the importance of communication now and as this situation unfolds. You may expect us to give updates in a variety of ways. Time sensitive but non-emergency information will be shared via email (on the timesensitive listserv). Informational updates (for example, how Facilities cleans offices overnight) will be provided through the Grapevine on a periodic basis.
Today, the main message from SUNY, New York State, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and all other credible sources was to practice preventive measures. As has previously been posted in the Grapevine, I now repeat these important actions to reduce the risk to our SUNY Orange community:
Please see this recent post in the Grapevine for more information and stay alert to email and the Grapevine for the latest on our prevention and response efforts.