The current strand of coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has made its way to many other countries including the United States. It reached Southern California on Jan. 26, striking Orange County (O.C.), L.A. County and San Bernardino County.
This current strand of coronavirus, known scientifically as 2019-nCoV and officially as novel coronavirus, is a respiratory infection that belongs to the same family of coronaviruses as the severe acute respiratory syndrome virus of 2003. In mild cases, it causes such symptoms as fevers and coughs, making such cases virtually indistinguishable from the common cold or the annual flu. In more severe cases, pneumonia and kidney failure can occur.
According to the Orange County Health Care Agency website, only one confirmed case of novel coronavirus infection occurred on Jan. 26. The infected individual is currently quarantined at a local O.C. hospital and is in stable condition. There have been no further reports of infection and quarantining within O.C.
On Jan. 30, the World Health Organization declared novel coronavirus an international public health emergency. Due to this, the California State University system has placed a ban on travel to China. “Effective immediately, travel to the entire country of China is not authorized,” the action reads.
School districts in Southern California are currently alerting parents of the outbreak by mail notification. Precautions are also being taken on school campuses. “Anyone who’s sick, we’re sending them back home,” said Pomona School District Health Services employee, Jose Nilo.
Although the Bronco Wellness Center (BWC) has not identified any case of a student infected by the novel coronavirus, Cal Poly Pomona is joining public schools in erring on the side of caution. Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Eileen Sullivan sent an email notice on Jan. 27 to all students and staff of CPP regarding the novel coronavirus.
“The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has not identified a risk to the Cal Poly Pomona campus. The county has stated 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,” Sullivan said in the campus-wide email.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are currently advising anyone who has been to Wuhan to seek medical attention at the earliest signs of illness due to the possibility of novel coronavirus contraction. Local hospitals and health centers, including the BWC, have similar warnings displayed in their lobbies. As of Jan. 27, the CDC website advises travelers to avoid China if it is an inessential stop.
According to the CDC, “Chinese officials have closed transport within and out of Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province including buses, subways, trains and the international airport.” Already, major efforts are being taken to mitigate the novel coronavirus.
A flight from Wuhan carrying visitors from the U.S. was set to arrive at Ontario International Airport (ONT) in San Bernardino County on Jan. 28, but as ONT Spokesman Steve Lambert said, “The flight never arrived at ONT, but was diverted to March Air Reserve Base.” March Air Reserve Base is located in Riverside County.
Though CPP currently has no confirmed infection cases, students are practicing precautions to avoid it. “Avoid crowded areas if possible,” third-year business student Martin Su said.
The CPP website has also been updated with a new page dedicated to the latest news regarding the novel coronavirus. It can be found at www.cpp.edu/safety/coronavirus.
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