February 28, 2020 - Initial Emergency Response Plan, Changes to International Programs
News reports on the public health risk associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) have generated questions from members of the campus community who are understandably curious about how Georgia Tech is responding to COVID-19 internationally as well as how it is preparing for the possibility of increased risk in the United States. It is important to remember there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Georgia at this time, and risk of exposure in the U.S. is still very low.
To date, Georgia Tech has canceled its spring programs in China and South Korea and advised faculty to cancel any travel commitments to China. While the University System of Georgia (USG) will make overall decisions regarding summer programs and other travel at a later date, Tech has preemptively canceled its China Summer Program. Our Office of International Education is working with students who are negatively affected by these changes.
On campus, Georgia Tech has developed an initial emergency response plan, and is conducting tabletop training exercises for the purpose of improved internal coordination and communication. Key Tech staff maintain close relationships with colleagues at the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure we have the latest information and guidance.
We continue to encourage all members of the campus community to follow the same preventative strategies used during a normal cold and flu season: getting a flu shot, washing hands regularly, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when experiencing symptoms of illness. In partnership with the state’s Department of Public Health, the USG has updated its resource guide with the latest information concerning travel warnings and other guidance at www.usg.edu/coronavirus.
February 26, 2020 - Statement from the Georgia Department of Public Health
Georgia Tech has been closely watching reports of a new coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China. There have been no identified cases at Georgia Tech or in the state of Georgia.
2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. At this time, some person to person spread has been documented, but it appears close sustained contact is required for person to person spread. The latest situation summary updates are available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) web page 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China.
According to the CDC, symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the seasonal flu, which remains the higher risk for our population. This is also the time of year when we typically see a rise in cases of seasonal flu.
Georgia Tech health professionals will continue monitoring the situation and are following the direction given by public health experts. It is important to note that the CDC has issued a travel warning recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China.
Students, faculty, and staff who have traveled from central China in the past 14 days and have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should contact Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) at (404) 894-2500 for assistance in seeking medical care. Students, faculty, and staff who are without symptoms returning from China should contact Senior Director of Stamps Health Services Dr. Benjamin Holton at (404) 385-1938.
It is recommended that anyone over the age of 6 months get the flu shot, and especially people with chronic medical conditions who are at high-risk for flu-related complications. Information regarding how to get a flu shot at Georgia Tech or what to do if you think you have influenza is available here. Students who have paid their health fee are eligible for a flu shot at no charge.