Dear Won Institute Faculty and Staff,
As you are likely aware, on Tuesday, February 25th, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) gave a press conference updating the country on the current status of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and what steps should be taken moving forward.
As the CDC emphasized, there is not currently a coronavirus pandemic in the United States. A pandemic occurs when a disease is spreading from a variety of sources across a large region, and the number of cases across the US is still small. However, given how quickly the global situation is evolving, we are monitoring new developments and will continue to reevaluate our steps and actions daily.
In the meantime, we ask you to follow basic health practices here at the Institute, as recommended by the CDC and public health sources, to stay healthy and minimize the spread of infectious disease, including:
Practicing great hygiene, like washing hands thoroughly and covering up coughs/sneezes
Wiping surfaces frequently touched by hands, such as door handles, light switches, keyboards, railings and so forth
Staying home when feeling ill until you recover – symptoms include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath.
In addition to these practices, we are prepared to further alter our procedures and plans should the situation change. We are also thinking ahead regarding the potential impact of the virus on the annual summer trip to South Korea, as well as any non-typical school activities, such as conferences on-site.
We will communicate any changes affirmatively when the time is appropriate. Our clinic director is also working on a policy towards patients and will communicate that soon. Separate letters will be sent to students by the dean and to patients by the clinic director.
We want to reassure you that faculty and staff, other than Dr. Kim, have had no recent trips to South Korea nor have they been in close physical contact with any travellers. Dr. Kim returned from South Korea in January and has been asymptomatic.
It is important to remember that handling the spread of a serious contagion like the coronavirus is primarily a task for public health agencies. Any directives from the World Health Organization, CDC, or local governmental organizations should be followed. We have listed a series of frequently asked questions and responses from the Pennsylvania Department of Health at the end of this letter.
In times like this, we are particularly grateful for the strength and togetherness of this community. Please continue to look for further communications from us on this matter.
Bokin Kim, PhD