Dear Rutgers Community Members,
We are writing to update you on the university’s work to address the concerns posed by the 2019-nCoV novel coronavirus epidemic. The World Health Organization announced it had chosen a name for the disease that makes no reference to places, animals, or people to avoid stigma: COVID-19.
Thankfully, there are still no cases of COVID-19 at Rutgers, or anywhere in New Jersey, but we have begun implementing response plans to assist our community members who have been affected by this health crisis. Rutgers Global has been critical to the outreach and coordination to our impacted students, faculty, and staff. Together with departments and leaders across the university, we have proactively developed solutions and made accommodations to ease unforeseen burdens on our affected students, faculty, and staff. Thank you all for the ongoing support of our student community.
Rutgers' clinical providers and student health services have put measures in place to screen symptoms and establish safeguards in the event that a Rutgers community member is identified with the virus. The university has readied equipment and circulated guidance to appropriate personnel regarding the handling of individuals and materials, and Rutgers Environmental Health and Safety has provided an information system that will enable easy health monitoring of individuals in need. The university’s Emergency Management teams have prepared facilities in the event that a Rutgers community member needs to be isolated. Hopefully this will not be necessary, but we are ready.
We have prepared for this situation as we do for other crises that present themselves to our university—we plan, monitor, evaluate, and adjust while hoping that we will never have to implement any of this diligent work. Currently, this health crisis presents a low risk to our region, and while it is important to be mindful of the impact on portions of our population, it is also important to maintain perspective and not compromise our principles as we strive to pursue our studies, research, and service in effort to better the world.
In the past few days, the CDC has announced a 13th case in the United States but states that this virus is NOT spreading in the community in the United States. The CDC also recently established new risk categories dependent on exposure. There are no deaths in the US, and no cases in New Jersey, in great contrast to the ongoing experience with the flu. To keep abreast of such updates, we ask you to bookmark our webpage (academichealth.rutgers.edu/coronavirus) and for up-to-date information about COVID-19, our preparations, and other general guidance. We will keep the community updated of new critical information as it becomes available.
Wishing you good health.
Vicente Gracias, MD
Senior Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Vice President for Health Affairs, Rutgers University
Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Rutgers University