Coronavirus Update and Travel Advisories
Feb. 25, 2020
Dear Bentley Community,
As we continue to follow the evolving outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) closely, I am reaching out to provide updates on new developments. The risk remains low in the U.S. and no additional cases have been reported in Massachusetts. The U.S. government, including the State Department, CDC and all local Departments of Public Health, are working to prevent the spread of the infection within the country.
COVID-19 is still felt to be primarily spread through respiratory contact, and testing is being done by the recommendation of the Department of Public Health only on those persons who may be at risk based on travel history and active symptoms. No testing of persons without risk based on travel history or symptoms is indicated at this time. Symptoms include mild respiratory illness, fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Since the illness was first discovered, COVID-19 has spread throughout China and more recently to additional countries in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. In addition to the existing travel warning for mainland China, the CDC has now issued travel advisories for South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy and Iran. The CDC has updates regarding community spread within additional countries including Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Community spread refers to people who have been infected with the virus, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. Due to rapid changes, the CDC will continue to update their guidance. More information from the CDC on travel advisories can be found here.
The university’s spring break is from March 9 – 13, 2020, and many faculty, staff and students have upcoming travel plans. Please be aware that travelers returning from these or other countries may be subject to additional screenings or restrictions. Please consider the evolving outbreak when making travel plans.
Currently, Massachusetts continues to have very high levels of influenza cases, as is common this time of year. If you have not already, please consider getting a flu vaccine, as there are still benefits to vaccination through the spring. Should you experience flu-like symptoms, especially a fever, try to stay home and speak to your health care provider. Students may call the health center at (781) 891-2222 for appointments and additional information.
As always, our goal is to protect the health of our entire community of students, staff and faculty. We will continue to follow CDC and Department of Public Health guidance regarding COVID-19.
Anjini Virmani, MD
Associate Dean of Health, Wellness and Counseling
Director, Bentley University Health Center