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January 31, 2020


Dear Members of the Rosemont Community,

In recent days, you have likely heard intensifying reports about an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), that originated in Wuhan, China. This new virus has greatly impacted China and has sickened more than 6,150, killing 132 people. There are, however, currently only 71 cases outside of China in 15 other countries. To date, 6 individuals in the United States, and none in Pennsylvania or surrounding states, have tested positive for the virus. Our prayers are with those affected by this new disease and for those who treat them.

While it is a communicable virus, the threat to the public in the United States currently is considered low, lower than the seasonal influenza virus, but outbreaks of new viruses in humans are always a public health concern.

We want to assure you that while there are no cases or even suspected cases at Rosemont College, the Wellness Center is closely monitoring the situation and working in collaboration with our College physician, the Montgomery County Department of Health, Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, which also include the “common cold,” and influenza:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid sharing anything that has come in contact with saliva.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

 These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers, important if you plan to visit China or have recently traveled there. Since information regarding this disease is changing quickly, we advise you to check the CDC website for the most up-to-date details and guidance.

If you are planning travel abroad, please contact your primary care physician in advance for current travel health and vaccination recommendations or the area you will be visiting. In addition, enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, to receive current embassy alerts and messages for your destinations. CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China. Visitors coming to the U.S. from China are being screened to detect travelers with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing when entering the United States.

If you are a student, faculty member, or staff member who has recently been to Wuhan, China, or who has possibly come in contact with an infected individual AND you exhibit any of the following symptoms: fever, shortness of breath, or cough, please contact your primary care physician, or urgent health facility. Students may also visit Rosemont’s Wellness Center, (610) 527-0200 x2420.

Do not forget, it’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting vaccinated, taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals, if prescribed.

Rosemont College will continue monitor the coronavirus and will communicate with you any steps needed to keep you and all members of our community safe. If necessary, we will follow up with additional communication.

Thank you and be well.

President Hirsh