Coronavirus updates for students, faculty and staff

Reaching out to Brock students abroad

(Posted Feb. 26, 2020) — As health agencies around the world maintain scrutiny of the Novel Coronavirus, and institutions or governments consider new measures and restrictions to stop it from further spreading, officials at Brock University are closely monitoring the situation in Niagara region and around Ontario.

Niagara Public Health has reported no new confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus in this region, and the consensus of international health experts is that the risk for Canadians is low.

In light of the global presence of Coronavirus, officials at Brock are reaching out to students who are studying abroad, to check on their wellbeing, ensure that their location information is up to date, and remind them to maintain regular contact with the University as well as their families.

Coronavirus update ahead of Reading Week

(Posted Feb. 13, 2020) — Niagara Region Public Health and Emergency Services issued a memo Thursday updating the information about novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Brock University continues to monitor the situation and follow the guidance provided by public health officials in Niagara, as well as across the province and country.

With Reading Week taking place Feb. 17-21, Brock students, faculty and staff are encouraged to follow the recommendations provided by public health officials.

Niagara Region Public Health reminds residents that the risk of getting this virus continues to be low in Niagara because there is no evidence of community spread in Canada. Any person who is suspected or tested for the virus is immediately isolated. Their close contacts are very closely followed and isolated if they develop any symptoms.

Recommendations for travelers from Hubei Province

If you have travelled to Hubei Province in the last 14 days, limit your contact with others for a total of 14 days from the date that you left Hubei Province. Please self-isolate and stay at home. Contact Public Health (PH) within 24 hours of arriving in Canada at 1-888-505-6074 or 905-688-8248 ext. 7330

Recommendations for travelers from mainland China

If you have travelled from mainland China in the last 14 days, monitor yourself for respiratory symptoms including fever, new cough and difficulty breathing. Should these respiratory symptoms develop within 14 days after leaving mainland China, contact your health care professional or PH immediately. Inform your health care professional or call PH about your symptoms and travel history before seeking medical care so we can discuss the most appropriate transportation options and site for testing.

Screening of travelers at the entry to Canada

Canada has a number of standard border measures in place to prevent the entry of infectious diseases in Canada. All international travelers arriving in international airports are being asked additional screening questions to determine if they have visited mainland China. If they develop symptoms, they are told to remain home and call their health care professional or PH to avoid exposing others. Symptoms of the virus occur within 14 days after being exposed.

Prevention

Members of the public are advised to take the usual measures to reduce the risk of respiratory illness, including:

  • Stay home if you’re sick. Return to work or school when you’re well
  • Wash your hands often. Use soap and water or hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze. With a tissue or into your sleeve. Increase cleaning and disinfection of surfaces.
  • Keep your distance. Avoid shaking hands and close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid sharing personal items. Especially those that come into contact with saliva, such as toothbrushes and eating utensils.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Prior to traveling, check the Public Health Agency of Canada for any travel advice or advisories.

Public health officials continue to monitor spread of novel coronavirus

(Posted Feb. 6, 2020) — Reading Week is fast approaching and Brock University students, staff and faculty are reminded of the Government of Canada’s advisories on travel to China. The government is urging Canadians to avoid all travel to Hubei Province, to avoid all non-essential travel to China and is asking Canadians in China to consider leaving the country if their presence isn’t essential.

Air Canada has joined numerous air carriers around the world in cancelling all flights to Beijing and Shanghai. Canadian airports are encouraging passengers to check their airline status before they head to the airport.

While there are no known cases of the virus in Niagara region, staff at Brock University continue to work with public health officials and closely monitor the campus for any signs of concern.

The World Health Organization said Thursday there were 28,276 confirmed cases of Wuhan Novel Coronavirus around the world with 564 confirmed deaths. The vast majority of cases are located in China, where the WHO risk assessment remains very high.

For more information, read the FAQs listed on this web page. For updates and information about care and prevention regarding coronaviruses, please read these advisories from health authorities:

Canadian government advises against travel to China

(Posted Jan. 31, 2020) — As governments and health agencies accelerate efforts to contain the spread of Wuhan Novel Coronavirus, staff at Brock University continue to work with public health officials and closely monitor the campus for any signs of concern.

There are no known cases of the virus in Niagara region.

Yesterday the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency as thousands of new cases of coronavirus are being reported in a growing number of countries, after it was first identified in China.

The health and safety of students, faculty and staff remains Brock University’s first priority. Anyone travelling abroad can refer to the Government of Canada’s travel advisory that people should avoid non-essential travel to China, and avoid all travel to the province of Hubei, including the cities of Wuhan, Huanggang and Ezhou.

Air Canada has cancelled all flights to and from China during the month of February, joining other airlines who are announcing similar restrictions.

Brock University takes its direction and information about coronavirus from health authorities at the federal, provincial and regional levels.

For more information, read the FAQs listed on this web page.  For updates and information about care and prevention regarding coronaviruses, be sure to read these advisories from health authorities:

Brock University continues to monitor Coronavirus

(Posted Jan. 27, 2020) — Officials at Brock University continue to closely track updated information regarding Wuhan Novel Coronavirus.

Brock University takes its direction and information about coronavirus from health authorities at the federal, provincial and regional levels. This includes background resources and recommended health care actions from Public Health that have been shared with clinicians at the Student Health Services clinic.

For updates and information about care and prevention regarding coronaviruses, be sure to read these advisories from health authorities:

Canada’s first two presumptive cases of the illness have been reported in Toronto, where both parties are in quarantine. Globally, hundreds of people have been diagnosed with the illness, the vast majority of them in China.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Anyone who has travelled to Wuhan, China and developed symptoms of the infection, should avoid contact with others and contact their doctor or call a clinic to get advice on when to visit.

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Brock University remains vigilant for Coronavirus

(Posted Jan. 23, 2020) — Brock University officials are closely monitoring information updates regarding the possible spread of Coronavirus, also known as Wuhan virus, into the Niagara region.

No confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported in Canada, and the Niagara Region Public Health Unit reports that the risk to Niagara residents is low. 

Niagara Region Public Health medical advisory

Health Canada has also issued an advisory on the virus.

The virus is a strain of pneumonia that emerged last month in China and has spread to other countries, including the United States, South Korea, Japan and Thailand, carried by travelers. Several hundred people outside of Canada have been infected, and it is the suspected cause of at least 17 deaths in China.

Here in Canada, airports and hospitals are stepping up detection and sanitary measures.

The Niagara Region Public Health Unit is actively monitoring the situation and collaborating with local hospitals, emergency services, provincial and national colleagues.

This strain of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is different from the common human coronavirus that circulates seasonally in Niagara.

Brock University will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as required.

About Coronavirus

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses.  Some cause no illness, some cause mild illness such as a common cold, but other Coronaviruses can cause severe illness.

Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

To  avoid contracting this and other transmitted illnesses, people should

  • practise good personal hygiene, and wash hands frequently;
  • avoid touching their mouths with their hands;
  • if you use a tissue, dispose of it immediately and wash your hands.

The risk of severe disease may be higher for people with a weakened immune system, such as older people or people with chronic disease (for example: diabetes, cancer, heart, renal, or chronic lung disease).

There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human Coronaviruses. Most people with common human Coronavirus illnesses will recover on their own.

Anyone who has travelled to Wuhan, China and developed symptoms of the infection, should avoid contact with others and contact their doctor. Call ahead to allow health care staff to manage your case appropriately.

Frequently asked questions

Brock University is an inclusive community where everyone is welcome and treated with respect.

The stigmatization of any group or individual has no place on our campus or in our country.

We recognize the dignity of each person, and build inclusivity and equity through understanding and respect for diverse identities.

If you believe that you, or someone you know, is being subjected to harassment, stereotyping or prejudicial assumptions, please contact the Office of Human Rights and Equity, located in MCE 206.  They can be reached at humanrights@brocku.ca or 905-668-5550 extension 4859.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that originate in animals but can cause respiratory illness in humans. Other novel coronaviruses have included Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Novel means new. In this case, the 2019-novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a previously-unidentified strain of coronavirus. It has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of pneumonia originating in Wuhan, China.

Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. However, these symptoms can also be caused by respiratory illnesses, pneumonia, influenza and other viruses.

Anyone developing these symptoms should contact their health-care provider.

Brock students showing coronavirus symptoms should go to the Student Health Services clinic.

Staff and faculty experiencing flu-like symptoms should follow their doctor’s advice for minimizing the spread of the flu by exercising good judgement in protecting yourself and others from spreading germs.

Please report your absence promptly to your supervisor per normal practice.  Staff and faculty who require five days of absence or greater are requested to submit the Attending Physician’s Statement to be completed by a medically licensed doctor.  For information on the short-term sick process, or to obtain the form, please access SharePoint.

Anyone who has recently been to Wuhan or another affected location should monitor their health for at least 14 days. If symptoms develop, contact a doctor or the local hospital. Call ahead to allow health care staff to manage your case appropriately.

Keep some distance from people who are obviously sick.

Avoid touching your face.

Wash your hands frequently. Carry hand sanitizer for use when soap and water are not readily available.

Practise good hygiene. This includes coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and staying at home or in your residence room if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Masks do not fully protect you from infection, and public health officials do not recommend masks as a preventive measure.

But people should wear a mask if they are sick, coughing and need to travel to a clinic or hospital.

However, it is important to remember there are some members of our community for whom wearing a mask becomes an expectation during flu and cold season, regardless of the coronavirus outbreak. No assumptions should be made about individuals who choose to wear a face mask at this time.

Any students who are feeling anxious, and would like to speak to someone about their concerns, are encouraged to contact the Brock University personal counselling service at 1-833-276-2544 (1-833-Brock33). This phone is answered 24 hours a day.

For drop-in counselling, go to Schmon Tower, 4th floor, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.