Clatsop Community College is closely monitoring the outbreak of the respiratory virus, COVID-19. At this time, there are no cases of COVID-19 in Clatsop County, but concerns over the spread of the virus have prompted the college to closely monitoring the situation to make timely and prudent decisions that protect our employees and students. The college has increased preventative cleaning measures as a precaution and also increased messaging about containing the spread of germs and viruses across campus and in the community.
The virus can be spread by sneezing, coughing, or by touching surfaces that someone has sneezed or coughed on, and then touching your eyes or mouth. Symptoms for most people are likely to be similar to that of the flu or common cold, however COVID-19 can be a serious infection for the elderly and those with weakened immune systems or certain respiratory conditions. It is also important to remember that the seasonal flu infected 35.5 million people in the US last year and that we are also still in flu season.
The best way to prevent infection from COVID-19, as well as the much more common diseases that we encounter every day such as flu, common cold, and rhinoviruses is to regularly wash your hands with soap and warm water. Additionally, if you have symptoms, stay home and contact your healthcare provider. Make sure to cough or sneeze into your sleeve rather than your hands, and avoid shaking hands with others. Wearing a mask when you are sick will help prevent giving diseases like COVID -19 to others. Wearing a mask when you are not sick is not an effective way of keeping yourself from getting the virus.
If the virus were to become a major health problem in our area, Clatsop Community College would follow the recommendations of the US Centers for Disease Control, as well as the directions of the Oregon and Clatsop County Departments of Health. Actions could include providing accommodations for students with weakened immune systems through the office of disability services, or in case of a severe outbreak, a possible campus closure. The college will communicate any emergency closures via Bandit Alert, on the college website and through local news organizations. Up-to-date information on COVID-19 can be found at www.cdc.gov and through the Oregon Health Authority here. Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.
The college is in communication with the local health authorities and also the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) for coordination and resource sharing in response to the virus if needed. At this time, the college’s focus is on prevention.
Clatsop Community College will update this article when any relevant developments occur. This article was last updated at 10:30 am on March 5, 2020.