January 27, 2020

Update on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are sending this update based on information released over the weekend that one individual in Los Angeles County & one in Orange County tested positive for the coronavirus. Santa Monica College's Health Services is in touch with local public health officials, and we want to reinforce that currently there is no known connection between those affected and SMC. You will be kept informed and notified on any new developments.

Per a statement released by the County of Los Angeles Public Health yesterday, Jan. 26 (read it here): "there is no immediate threat to the general public, no special precautions are required, and people should not be excluded from activities based on their race, country of origin, or recent travel if they do not have symptoms of respiratory illness."

On Friday, Jan. 24, we sent out these FAQ below; we have added some information towards the end, which is highlighted.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a respiratory virus that develops to pneumonia and was recently discovered in China.

Signs and Symptoms of Coronavirus

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Cough

Mode of Transmission

Coronavirus is most commonly spread from an infected person to others:

  • By air via coughing, and/or sneezing
  • By close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • By contact with contaminated surfaces or objects and then touching mouth, eyes, or nose.

What Can Travelers Do to Protect Themselves and Others?

Travelers to China should:

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

If you traveled to China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor's office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. 
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Don't travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Individuals who have a combination of the mentioned symptoms and think that they may have been exposed should be evaluated by their healthcare provider. They should inform their doctor that they may have been exposed to coronavirus. Individuals with symptoms should not return to any activity until their health care provider has cleared them to do so.

International Students

International students should go to Student Health Services to receive a referral for further treatment. Student Health Services is open Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. - 2:20 p.m. during the winter session and is located on the ground floor of Cayton

The Health Service's office phone number is 310-434-4262. Students can also refer to the Center for Disease Control's website for further information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html

Preventive Measures at SMC

Santa Monica College's Health Services will have masks on hand, for any student who would like one. If you do not have access to a mask, any face covering—such as a tissue, cotton cloth, or scarf—can help reduce the spread of infections by physically keeping droplets from reaching others. A covering also prevents the casual "habit" of touching your mouth and nose with your hands that many people do without being aware.

SMC is taking extended measures to ensure a hygienic environment, including regular disinfecting and cleaning of common areas, and ensuring that soap and hand sanitizer stations throughout campus remain filled. Hand gel is available in dispensers at locations throughout the campuses and all members of the community are encouraged to use them. Remember that hand gel/sanitizer does not replace handwashing with soap and water; handwashing is a more effective way to reduce the spread of any infection.

For updates and more information on coronavirus, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.