Stop the Spread – CoVID 19 Information
With the numbers growing each day, we have reached the point where everyone in New York City should assume they may have been exposed to the coronavirus—or will be in the coming days and weeks if they don’t take active measures against it. This means it is critical to keep exposure from turning into infection. It also means we each have the power and responsibility to keep the virus from spreading further.
The most important thing to know: Healthy or sick, stay home as much as possible.
Here’s what else you need to know.
How it spreads
COVID-19 is transmitted mainly between people who are in close contact with each other (within about 6 feet). It is commonly spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or be inhaled into the lungs.
The virus can also live on surfaces as long as several days and be transmitted when someone touches an infected surface and then touches their mouth, nose or eyes without washing their hands thoroughly.
How to protect yourself—and everyone else
- Stay home as much as possible. Even if you are healthy and have no sign of illness, go out only for essential tasks, such as getting groceries or supplies for medical care. Use delivery services when possible.
- When you do go out, practice “social distancing” and take it seriously. Try to stay at least 6 feet from others in public spaces. Avoid crowded areas of stores. And of course, don’t shake hands or hug. Try waving.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds; use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable. Wash thoroughly, including the back of your hands, fingernails and between fingers by interlocking as you wash.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing — do not use your hands.
- Try to break the unconscious habit of touching your face, and especially avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands.
- Sanitize frequently touched surfaces and objects, particularly your cell phone.
- Get the flu vaccine–it’s not too late. It won’t protect you from coronavirus but it will help reduce your chances of getting the seasonal flu, which has similar symptoms. Getting both infections back-to-back can further tax your immune system. And avoiding the flu is also one way to minimize having to go to a doctor or health care setting where risk of coronavirus infection might be higher.
What to do if you’re sick
Stay home. Even it seems like just a cold, you may be carrying the coronavirus with only mild symptoms or even none at all. (New studies suggest nearly 18 percent of people with COVID-19 have no symptoms.) Though it’s believed people are most contagious when they are most symptomatic, spread is possible before symptoms appear.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe and include fever, cough and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear as soon as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. If you have mild symptoms, it’s not necessary to seek medical care. But if they persist for three or four days, contact your primary care physician. (See the Symptoms tab for more).
If you have symptoms of the coronavirus–fever, coughing, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath–stay home. If your symptoms are mild, the New York City Health Department advises seeking medical care only if you don’t feel better after three or four days. If your symptoms are more severe, contact your primary care provider. If you need help connecting to a health care provider, call the health services center at BCC, which can be found at BCC Office of Health Services.
If you were in direct contact with someone who is a confirmed case or is waiting for confirmation, you should self-quarantine for 14 days from the last day of your contact. Self-quarantine means staying inside and isolating yourself as much as possible. Use food delivery services, which now offer grocery and food orders left on doorsteps to avoid physical contact between delivery workers and customers.
Other requirements of self-quarantining: No visitors, including housekeepers and dog walkers; avoid sharing household items; sanitize “high-touch” surfaces—countertops, toilets, keyboards, doorknobs—every day.
If you have symptoms during the quarantine period, seek medical advice.
If you learn of or come in contact with a student or colleague who suspects exposure to coronavirus or displays symptoms, ask them to contact their health care provider. (Students who need help connecting to a health care provider should contact CUNY Campus Health Services or call 3-1-1 for help finding a health care provider.) You also need to immediately inform your Campus Coronavirus Liaison. Each campus has a liaison designated by the president or dean as the contact person for the college.
You can also get help with medical care and information by calling:
- NYC Health Department at 347-396-7990
- NYC help line, 3-1-1.
- New York State coronavirus hotline, 888-364-3065
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How To Protect Yourself
- New York State Department of Health: Prevention and Preparation
SPECIAL MESSAGE DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Students, we know that this is a very difficult time for you. The Office of Personal Counseling (OPC) is working remotely due to COVID-19, but is still available to help you with free and confidential services. Services are offered via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Facetime and telephone.
To speak to a counselor please call, 718.289.5223 and leave a message. When leaving a message, please say your phone number twice. A counselor will call you back.
You can also send an e-mail to our Intake Coordinator at Personal.Counseling@bcc.cuny.edu.
If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911. Please note that counselors from the OPC are only available during our office hours.
If you are in crisis and you need immediate support or need to speak to someone outside of business hours, please call NYC WELL at 888.692.9355 or text “WELL” to 65173.
NYC WELL is a 24/7 phone or text hotline for support and referrals.
We understand that members of the CUNY community may be experiencing heightened levels of anxiety during this time. CUNY encourages students who feel anxious or worried about friends and family because of the coronavirus to contact Counseling and Health Services or campus Student Services. For faculty and staff, CUNY’s Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) is available to help. CUNY’s EAP may be reached at 1-866-327-2400 or https://members.deeroakseap.com/.
Equity and inclusion
We want to remind our diverse CUNY community that we are an institution that takes pride in its welcoming environment and unwavering commitment to the values of equity and inclusion. One unfortunate and unacceptable aspect of the coronavirus pandemic has been a wave of anti-Asian and anti-Asian-American bigotry. References to COVID-19 that connect the virus to racial, ethnic or cultural identity are irresponsible and dangerous. CUNY condemns any response to this global health crisis that leads to mistreatment, bias or disrespect of any kind. These are extraordinarily challenging and anxious times, and we are all in this together. As always, any student who experiences discrimination of any kind can speak with their campus Student Affairs Office for support. Likewise, faculty or staff can speak with their campus Chief Diversity Officer or Office of Human Resources.
Background and Terminology:
Earle H. Spaulding devised a rational approach to disinfection and sterilization of patient-care items and equipment. This classification scheme is used by infection control professionals and others when planning methods for disinfection or sterilization. The disinfection level is categorized as critical, semi-critical, and noncritical according to the degree of risk for infection involved in use of the items.
- Critical – Critical items confer a high risk for infection if they are contaminated with any microorganism. Objects that enter sterile tissue or the vascular system must be sterile because any microbial contamination could transmit disease. This category includes surgical instruments, cardiac and urinary catheters, implants, and ultrasound probes used in sterile body cavities. Most of the items in this category should be purchased as sterile or be sterilized with steam if possible
- Semicritical – Semicritical items contact mucous membranes or nonintact skin. This category includes respiratory therapy and anesthesia equipment, some endoscopes, laryngoscope blades, esophageal manometry probes, cystoscopies, anorectal manometry catheters, and diaphragm fitting rings. These medical devices should be free from all microorganisms; however, small numbers of bacterial spores are permissible. Intact mucous membranes, such as those of the lungs and the gastrointestinal tract, generally are resistant to infection by common bacterial spores but susceptible to other organisms, such as bacteria, mycobacteria, and viruses. Semicritical items minimally require high-level disinfection using chemical disinfectants.
- Noncritical – Noncritical items are those that come in contact with intact skin but not mucous membranes. Intact skin acts as an effective barrier to most microorganisms; therefore, the sterility of items coming in contact with intact skin is “not critical.” In this guideline, noncritical items are divided into noncritical patient care items and noncritical environmental surfaces.
CDC Guideline for cleaning in schools: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/school/cleaning.htm
Suggested Cleaning Products to Respond to COVID-19 https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2
EPA Recommended Cleaning Products: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-03/documents/sars-cov-2-list_03-03-2020.pdf
CDC Risk Assessment Guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/risk-assessment.html
Perform routine environmental cleaning:
- Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
- No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
- Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
Additional Measures in Response to Currently Occurring Sporadic Importations of the COVID-19:
- Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
- If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
Table 1. Risk Categories for Exposures Associated with International Travel or Identified during Contact Investigations of Laboratory-confirmed Cases
|Table 1: Risk Categories for Exposures Associated with International Travel or Identified during Contact Investigations of Laboratory-confirmed Cases|||||
|Risk Level||Geographic (Travel-associated) Exposures*||Exposures Identified through Contact Investigation|
|High||Travel from Hubei Province, China||Living in the same household as, being an intimate partner of, or providing care in a nonhealthcare setting (such as a home) for a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection without using recommended precautionsfor home care and home isolation|
(assumes no exposures in the high-risk category)
(assumes no exposures in the high-risk category)
|Travel from any other country||Being in the same indoor environment (e.g., a classroom, a hospital waiting room) as a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time but not meeting the definition of close contact|
|No identifiable risk||Not applicable||Interactions with a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection that do not meet any of the high-, medium- or low-risk conditions above, such as walking by the person or being briefly in the same room.|
All non-essential university-related international and domestic travel is indefinitely suspended at this time, this includes the suspension of all Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 study abroad programs. It also includes all CUNY-sponsored student international travel (including spring break), non-CUNY credit-bearing programs, and non-credit travel under the auspices of CUNY or any CUNY college or student organization. Please know that credits earned on non-CUNY study abroad programs this summer will not be accepted by the University.
Requests for exceptions to this policy will continue to be reviewed at Central Office and will be elevated to the Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost, who will make a final recommendation to the Chancellor after consideration of any national and local travel restrictions, as well as guidance established by local health authorities and the CDC for New York and the travel destination to limit the risk of exposure and unintended geographic spread of COVID-19.
Offices supporting group travel should continue to submit Trip Proposals(.pdf) as usual.
CUNY CoVID-19 Task Force
CUNY has established an Email Hotline, by way of a dedicated email address, to facilitate communications. The purpose of this Email Hotline is for CUNY to provide basic information, referrals, guidance, and support related to CUNY’s readiness and response plan to the Coronavirus and address concerns and inquiries from our CUNY community. The Email Hotline can be reached at: Coronavirus.firstname.lastname@example.org
For additional updates on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, please visit: https://www.cuny.edu/coronavirus/
For Immediate Assistance
New York State Coronavirus health hotline: 1-888-364-3065
Call with all questions or concerns.