Pacific Prepares for Potential COVID-19 Impact

As all of us are aware, an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been detected throughout China and in many other countries and territories, including the United States.

This rapidly evolving public health issue has brought angst to many in our community, and I want to assure you that Pacific University is actively monitoring the situation. We are in contact with public health entities such as Washington County Public Health and are coordinating with our clinical partners in the Hillsboro Health and Education District, including OHSU and Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center. We also are carefully assessing the conditions for our students studying abroad.

I also have asked Mark Ankeny, vice president for enrollment management and student affairs, to organize a group to prepare the university should COVID-19 impact our campuses. Amy Rasmussen, our new emergency and business continuity manager, along with representatives from throughout the university, are meeting weekly to build on our established emergency preparedness and response procedures and to ensure that our campuses, clinics and communities remain informed and supported through this situation.

We will continue to provide regular updates and resources for our Pacific University family through email and the university website, with print and digital information on our campuses, and, in emergency situations, through our Boxer Alert system.

If you do experience flu-like symptoms, call your primary healthcare provider. Students can contact the Student Health Center. If news about COVID-19 is causing an increase in anxiety, hopelessness or isolation, we have structures in place to help you attend to your mental health. Students can connect with the Student Counseling Center, and employees can seek resources through Human Resources and the Employee Assistance Program.

Otherwise, stay calm. The best source of information for individuals and for healthcare professionals is the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It is important to note that the current recommendations from the CDC are no different than in any other flu season: Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home when you are sick. And practice good hygiene, such as covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and washing your hands frequently.

Update: Oregon's first case of COVID-19 was identified on Feb. 28. This message has been updated to reflect the change.

Friday, Feb. 28, 2020