Announcements

Spring Break Travel Safety and COVID-19 Update - Feb. 18, 2020

February 18, 2020

Dear Members of the Yale Community,

With spring break approaching, we write to remind you of the resources available if you are traveling abroad or within the U.S. We write also to provide updates regarding COVID-19 (formerly 2019-nCoV or novel coronavirus), grateful that we have had no cases of the infection on campus to date and that there has been no community spread of the infection in the U.S.

You can find the following in this email:
•    Spring break travel safety
•    Infection prevention through voluntary self-isolation in the Yale community
•    New infection control mandate for people arriving from mainland China
•    University preparations for COVID-19
•    Information about COVID-19 infection and prevention

SPRING BREAK TRAVEL SAFETY
We want to emphasize resources that are available in light of concerns regarding COVID-19 and urge you to register your travel as provided below. For many students, faculty, and staff, international travel is important for their research, work, or studies and can continue as planned if travelers plan ahead and follow guidance from health officials and other government agencies.  

As of now, all travel to China should be cancelled or deferred to a later date. In addition, some countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, are imposing restrictions on entering, so you may wish to reconsider travel at this time to those countries. However, most travel worldwide is not affected. Please keep in mind the following points that will help ensure safe and smooth travels:
 
1. Stay alert to changes and developments that may affect your plans. Monitor travel advisories, including potential restrictions on border crossings.  

2. Register your travel with Yale. Whether you are traveling for research, conferences, internships, or other reasons, please register your travel, so that in the event of a major emergency, the university will be able to contact you.   
 
3. If you are an undergraduate traveler, review the Yale College travel policy.
 
4. Borrow a secure laptop from Yale ITS and consider using burner phones for high-risk destinations. Review these best practices for traveling overseas with electronic devices.
 
5. Understand what your health insurance will cover while you are away from home and consider purchasing supplemental travel health insurance.
 
6. International students and scholars should check their immigration documents before leaving the U.S. For more information about travel emergencies related to your immigration status or problems returning to the U.S., go to https://oiss.yale.edu/life-at-yale/safety-security/emergency-information.
 
7. U.S. Country Sanctions and Economic Embargoes:

  • Current U.S. sanctions and embargoes may require you to have U.S. government approval before you travel to an embargoed country and/or may restrict your activities in that country. If you violate these rules, you may be subject to civil and/or criminal penalties.
  • Those traveling to Iran, North Korea, Syria, or the Crimea region of Ukraine should contact Don Deyo, director of export control licensing, at (203) 785-3817 for assistance.
  • Those traveling to Cuba should email iocc@yale.edu for assistance. Restrictions on travel to Cuba remain in place: trips to Cuba that are primarily tourist-oriented, along with many other transactions relating to Cuba, continue to be prohibited.

Although this message is most relevant to spring break travel, we know that many community members already have questions about summer travel and programs abroad in light of the COVID-19 situation. We are monitoring and plan to be able to give specific information to the community with respect to summer travel by April 1.
 
INFECTION PREVENTION THROUGH VOLUNTARY SELF-ISOLATION IN THE YALE COMMUNITY
On February 3, 2020, Yale University responded to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by initiating voluntary self-isolation and self-monitoring for travelers arriving from mainland China. Yale Health registered 109 students, staff, faculty, family members, and visitors, many of whom have now completed the 14-day monitoring period. We are pleased to say that we have had no cases of infection to date, and we extend heartfelt thanks to all of the registrants for their cooperation.

NEW INFECTION CONTROL MANDATE FOR PEOPLE ARRIVING FROM MAINLAND CHINA
There has been no community spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. to date. The national public health strategy has prioritized prevention of infection through limitations on travel as well as quarantine or self-isolation of people arriving from China. Important new infection control mandates for arriving travelers include the following:

  • All travelers from mainland China must now arrive in the U.S. through 11 designated airports where they undergo screening for symptoms and/or risks of infection.
  • Arrivals with recent travel to Hubei Province will be quarantined for 14 days.
  • If they are asymptomatic, travelers from mainland China outside Hubei Province will receive a health information card and be required to undergo a 14-day period of self-isolation and monitoring with public health supervision at their travel destinations.
    • The State of Connecticut Department of Public Health will delegate to Yale Health the responsibility for monitoring members of the Yale community registered for this program. We will provide affected individuals with detailed health information and daily assistance.

You can read more about these infection control measures at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/from-china.html.

UNIVERSITY PREPARATIONS FOR COVID-19
Because of the magnitude of the epidemic in China and travel-related cases in other countries, the CDC and healthcare organizations across the country are making preparations in case we encounter community spread of COVID-19. In our own community, Yale Health, Yale Medicine, Yale School of Public Health, Yale Emergency Management, Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH), and public health authorities at the state and local level are collaborating closely.

  • We have created a 24-hour hotline (203-432-6604) for concerned members of the community.
  • We have developed and disseminated clinical protocols to facilitate consistent evaluation of patients with risk factors and/or symptoms of COVID-19 infection.
  • In collaboration with Yale Medicine and YNHH, we have implemented a mandatory data field in our electronic medical record system to ensure consistent screening for travel history and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 infection.
  • We have developed and disseminated protocols for limiting the spread of infection in the healthcare setting.
  • We have relaunched the influenza vaccination drive and reminded our community that it is not too late to get the vaccine. Members of the Yale community can obtain the influenza vaccine free of charge at the Yale Health Center at 55 Lock Street daily from Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

INFORMATION ABOUT COVID-19 INFECTION AND PREVENTION

Facts About COVID-19 Infection
The risk of COVID-19 infection is dependent on exposure, but details about the new virus are still emerging. The most important route of transmission is likely close contact (six feet or less) with sick patients who spread respiratory droplets when they cough or sneeze. The risk of spread from asymptomatic people and from touching surfaces and objects contaminated with virus is much lower than droplet spread from sick patients. The reported incubation period (time from exposure to the onset of symptoms) ranges from two to 14 days.

Severity of COVID-19 infection ranges from mild to severe, but the majority of cases in China have not required hospitalization. Critical illness has developed in 15 percent of Wuhan patients and up to 3 percent are dying of the disease. Fever of >100.4 F (>38 C), cough, and shortness of breath are the most frequently reported symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms overlap with those of influenza and other respiratory infections. Therefore, the CDC has published guidelines to identify patients at risk of COVID-19 and determine when testing is necessary  

Prevention of COVID-19 Infection
There is no vaccine for COVID-19 at present, so prevention is crucial. Here are some ways to avoid viral respiratory infections including COVID-19:

  • Avoid contact with people who are ill.
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Facemasks are not recommended for healthy people to avoid respiratory viruses including COVID-19.

What to Do If You Become Ill
If you experience fever, cough, or difficulty breathing and you have had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient and/or traveled from mainland China within 14 days of the onset of illness, stay home and contact a healthcare provider for guidance—do not go to a healthcare facility prior to calling your doctor or a hospital emergency room for instructions.
o    If you are a Yale student or Yale Health member, you should contact Internal Medicine (203-432-0038), Student Health (203-432-0312), or Pediatrics (203-432-0206) from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For urgent attention 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, please call Yale Health Acute Care (203-432-0123).

  • If you are an Aetna member or have other healthcare coverage, please contact your physician.
  • Avoid contact with others to limit spread.
  • Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue or sleeve, not your hands. Wash your hands with soap and water after coughing, sneezing, and blowing your nose. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
  • Facemasks are recommended for people with symptoms of respiratory infection to minimize the risk of spread of infection.

Information for Healthcare Workers
The CDC has issued detailed interim guidance for those who interact with potentially infected patients. Protect yourself and others by acquainting yourself with these recommendations.

Nondiscrimination
Yale University is committed to maintaining an environment of respect and freedom from discrimination and to supporting all members of our community affected by this global health threat. Bias, discrimination, and harassment are inimical to our values and violate Yale policies. For more information, please go to https://yalehealth.yale.edu/nondiscrimination-notice.

For Additional Information

Public Health Authorities

Yale Resources

Sincerely,

Dr. Paul Genecin
Director, Yale Health

Donald L. Filer
Associate Vice President for Global Strategy

 

2019 Novel Coronavirus Update February 8

Yale Health continues to ask members of the Yale community who have returned from mainland China in the past 14 days to complete this registration form. In keeping with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance travelers who are within the 14-day window of their return from mainland China are asked to self-isolate using these guidelines. If you returned from mainland China more than 14 days ago, no further action is needed.

There are no cases of 2019-nCoV infection at Yale or in Connecticut. For more information please call the Yale Health Hotline at (203) 432-6604 or go to these websites:

Public Health Authorities

Yale Resources

Announcement from Scott Strobel, Feb. 3

Dear Members of the Yale Community:

Yale University continues to closely monitor the outbreak of coronavirus 2019-nCoV. The number of cases in China has been rising dramatically; for now, there has been limited spread to other countries, including the United States. We reported on January 31 that a high school student from China who was participating in the annual Yale Model United Nations conference tested negative for 2019-nCoV. 

The U.S. government has implemented measures to better detect and contain the coronavirus. These measures include a “Level 4-Do Not Travel to China” advisory from the U.S. Department of State, and a declaration of a public health emergency by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

In keeping with intensifying public health measures, all Yale University faculty, staff, students, visitors and other members of the Yale community who have returned from mainland China since January 20, 2020, should complete this registration form.  Yale Health will then contact you to provide assistance and further instructions. The information you provide will be kept secure and confidential.  Consistent with U.S. Government advice, we also ask you to self-isolate for 14 days after returning from mainland China.  Guidelines for self-isolation may be found at this website

If you have traveled in China and returned to the U.S. on or before January 19, 2020, and are not showing disease symptoms, then no further action is needed.

We are working closely with the Connecticut Department of Public Health to track the overall situation regarding the coronavirus and to protect the health and wellbeing of the Yale community.  Yale Health and Yale Medicine are maintaining information on their webpages.

A reminder about influenza:
We are now nearing the peak of seasonal influenza (flu). Influenza and 2019-nCoV infections have similar symptoms including fever, cough, congestion and shortness of breath.  At this time, influenza poses a greater risk to our community than coronavirus.  Public health authorities strongly advise unimmunized members of the community to get the flu shot. 

Members of the Yale community can obtain the influenza vaccine free of charge at the Yale Health Center at 55 Lock Street on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Please check the Yale Health website for updated information about 2019-nCoV including 2019 Novel Coronavirus FAQ’s

We will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available. 
 
Sincerely, 
Scott Strobel
Provost and Henry Ford II Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry

Janet Lindner
Vice President for Human Resources & Administration

Dr. Paul Genecin
Director, Yale Health

Novel Coronavirus Update January 28

A message from Dr. Paul Genecin

To:  All Students, faculty and staff

On Sunday, I wrote to inform you that a high school student from China who participated in the annual Yale Model United Nations conference exhibited fever and cough and was evaluated in the Yale-New Haven Hospital Emergency Department over the weekend. A test was ordered to rule out infection with the novel coronavirus (abbreviated 2019-nCoV). The result is not yet back from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I will notify the community as soon as the result is available.

CDC Travel Advisory:
Yesterday, the CDC issued a travel notice recommending that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China because of the 2019-nCoV epidemic. You can read the entire advisory at:
https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-china?smid=nytcore-ios-share.

The salient points in this new travel advisory are:

  • 2019-nCoV causes a respiratory illness with fever and cough. Some people experience more serious illness with pneumonia and respiratory failure, and fatalities have been reported. There is active transmission from person to person reported in China.
  • As a result, China has closed transport within and out of Wuhan and other cities in the Hubei province.
  • The public health situation in China is rapidly evolving with new cases reported in other Chinese cities.
  • There is limited medical care available in affected areas.
  • Air travelers arriving in the U.S. from China are being screened for signs of illness such as cough, fever and difficulty breathing.
  • If you have been in China in the last 14 days and are experiencing illness with cough, fever or difficulty with breathing, you should:
    • Call your doctor’s office or an emergency room to report your symptoms and seek advice. Do not go to a clinic for care prior to calling.
      • If you are a Yale student or Yale Health member, you should contact Internal Medicine (203-432-0038), Student Health (203-432-0312) or Pediatrics (203-432-0206) from 8:30am to 5pm. For urgent attention 24x7, please call Yale Health Acute Care: 203-432-0123.
      • If you are an Aetna member or have other healthcare coverage, please contact your physician.

If you must travel to China:

  • In light of the CDC advice and US State Department warnings, you are urged to evaluate your travel plans and consider delaying travel to a later date.
  • Contact your healthcare provider to discuss your travel plans, bearing in mind that older adults and those with chronic health problems may have a higher risk of complications in 2019-nCoV infection.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid animals whether dead or alive, including animal markets and animal products such as raw meat.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. 

A note about influenza:

We are now nearing the peak of seasonal influenza (flu). Influenza and 2019-nCoV infections have similar symptoms including fever, cough, congestion and shortness of breath. At this time, influenza poses a greater risk to our community than coronavirus. While there is no vaccine for coronavirus infection, the influenza vaccine is readily available, safe and effective. Public health authorities strongly advise unimmunized members of the community to get the flu shot. In addition to preventing or mitigating the severity of flu, this vaccine will simplify the evaluation of patients with flu-like symptoms in the event that we begin to see cases of 2019-nCoV in our community.
                                                    
Members of the Yale community can obtain the influenza vaccine free of charge at the Yale Health Center at 55 Lock Street daily from Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Please check the Yale Health website (https://yalehealth.yale.edu/) for updated information about 2019-nCoV. I draw your attention to newly posted FAQ’s.  You may also wish to check the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) websites for more information about the novel coronavirus outbreak:  

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
WHO: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

January 26, 2020 - Coronavirus Update

January 26, 2020

A message from Dr. Paul Genecin

To:  All Students, faculty and staff

On Friday, I wrote to let you know that Yale Health, Yale Emergency Management, and Environmental Health and Safety are closely monitoring the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and that we would keep the community updated as new information became available.

I write today to inform you that last night, Yale became aware that a high-school student from China who was participating in the annual Yale Model United Nations (YMUN) conference, scheduled for January 23-26 on our campus, exhibited cough and fever and was taken to Yale New Haven Hospital, where the student tested positive for influenza. This test result suggests that the student has influenza rather than 2019-nCoV infection. However, out of an abundance of caution, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has asked that the student be tested for 2019-nCoV. We expect results in the middle of the week.

The patient, who does not exhibit severe symptoms, has been released from the hospital, but has been isolated pending the CDC’s diagnosis. The student is in good condition and we will continue to monitor their progress.

Last night, Dean of Yale College Marvin Chun, in consultation with health experts, requested that YMUN cancel all activities that had been scheduled for today, Sunday, January 26. YMUN organizers have reached out to advisors as well as those at Yale who had a part in the conference, to inform them of today’s cancelation. This was to be the event’s closing day, and while Yale regrets that the participating MUN students will not be able to complete their conference’s program, we feel it to be in the best interest of those students and of the Yale community to take this precaution.

We have established a dedicated Yale Health hotline at 203-432-6604 or 866-924-YALE (866-924-9253). All concerned members of the Yale community and YMUN participants should feel free to contact us.

What follows is a restatement of the background information and guidance I offered in my letter on Friday.

We are working closely with campus partners as well as the Connecticut Department of Public Health to track the overall situation around the coronavirus and to protect the health and wellbeing of the Yale community. Yale Health and Yale Medicine are maintaining information on their webpages:

Yale Health: https://yalehealth.yale.edu/
Yale Medicine: https://www.yalemedicine.org/

Background:

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the immediate health risk from the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) to the general American public is considered low at this time. Airline passengers from China arriving at major U.S. airports are being screened for illness. and China has restricted travel in several cities to help limit the spread of the virus. The vast majority of the approximately 850 reported cases (as of Friday) are on the Chinese mainland. Two U.S. cases in travelers returning from Wuhan to Washington State and Chicago, Illinois have been reported as of Friday. We anticipate that there may be additional U.S. reports of infection in coming days.

Public health authorities are investigating the virus’ origin, transmission, and details about the spectrum of illnesses. Coronavirus can spread from person to person by coughing and other close contact. The 2019 new coronavirus typically causes moderate illness with flu-like symptoms including fever, cough, and congestion. Shortness of breath is reported in patients with more severe illness.  Some patients — particularly the elderly and those with chronic health conditions — can develop a severe form of pneumonia and deaths have been reported. There is no current vaccine for this or other coronaviruses, and no effective antiviral antibiotic therapy.

Medical care:
Individuals who have traveled recently to Wuhan and surrounding regions or have had close contact with an ill person from those areas AND are experiencing flu like symptoms should seek medical attention from your primary care provider.  

If you are a Yale Health member, you should contact Internal Medicine (203-432-0038), Student Health (203-432-0312) or Pediatrics (203-432-0206). For urgent attention, please call Yale Health Acute Care: 203-432-0123. NOTE: We have established a dedicated Yale Health hotline at 203-432-6604 or 866-924-YALE (866-924-9253). All concerned members of the Yale community and YMUN participants should feel free to contact us.

Patients should provide their travel history and can expect to be asked screening questions related to 2019-nCoV risk when seeking care in clinical locations. Members of Yale Health concerned about 2019-nCoV should call first so that we can review symptoms and travel history and make appropriate recommendations.

Prevent illness and its spread:
•    Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, if soap and water are not available
•    Avoid contact with affected patients
•    Cover your cough/sneeze or cough/sneeze into your elbow, throw tissues away and wash your hands immediately
More information is available from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization:

CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/
CDC Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html
WHO: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

We will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.  

 

 

man getting a flu shot smilimg

Flu Clinic Information

Everyone 6 months & older should receive a yearly flu vaccine. Visit our flu clinic information page.

Now You Can See More

In MyChart you can see the notes your provider writes in your medical record. It includes information you shared and your provider’s thoughts about your diagnosis and treatment. Visit Shared Notes to learn more.

Join Yale Health's Patient & Family Council

Yale Health’s Patient & Family Council is part of an effort to further advance the principles of patient-centered care.

  • Council members work together with Yale Health leadership to promote, review, and advise on operational processes and programs that address the needs of patients and families.  

  • Patients and family members will play a role as ‘patient partners’, acting as a resource to the organization.

Visit the Patient Partner Opportunities page for more information or to apply to the council.

Yale Health Offering Tours and Orientation

Are you a new Yale employee who recently joined Yale Health?

Maybe you’re a member who would like more information about your Yale Health coverage.

Join us for a tour of the Yale Health Center followed by an orientation session to learn about Yale Health. 

There will be time to ask questions in a group setting or on an individual basis.

There are multiple dates and times to choose from.

Register for your tour.

Thinking about quitting smoking? There's help available

Yale faculty and staff members and their dependents can learn about the Telephonic Tobacco Cessation Program, as well as additional means of support.

Learn about resources offered by Yale Health to help students quit.

Free resources available to help visitors to campus quit.

Read the Yale News article, “Thinking about quitting smoking? There’s help available”.

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