Letters to the UMB Community

First Coronavirus Cases In Maryland

March 6, 2020

 
Dear Colleagues,
 
As you may know, last night Gov. Larry Hogan delivered the unwelcome but not unexpected news that Maryland has experienced its first cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Three Maryland residents from Montgomery County apparently contracted the disease while traveling together overseas. Fortunately, all three are reported to have only mild symptoms, and their conditions are improving.  
 
In his statement to the media the governor acknowledged the concerns we all have but urged Marylanders to "go to work or go to school tomorrow just as they normally would."  Here at UMB, you can be assured that we are working diligently with our colleagues at the University of Maryland Medical System, the Maryland Department of Health, and other state and local agencies to protect the health of our community and of those we serve. And we are implementing measures in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to protect against infection.

The University has instituted guidelines for travel that ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff who are traveling, as well as the safety of our community when those travelers return. We have implemented clinical, field placement, and internship guidelines to protect students, physicians, patients, and those in our communities. And we are making preparations throughout the University to identify and overcome a host of other issues that may arise as a result of this ongoing health concern.

But just as the health and well-being of the people we serve depends on a collaborative team effort, so too does the health and well-being of our community. So as we face this situation together, I ask you to join me in taking a few fundamental steps:

Stay informed. The University's COVID-19 website provides access to:
  • University policies and guidelines
  • Links to resources for students, faculty, and staff
  • CDC and World Health Organization information
  • Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 symptoms, spread, and treatment
Exercise good physical hygiene.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, and ears.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue and immediately dispose of the tissue. Rewash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly used areas.
Stay home if you are sick. If you have a fever, cough, sore throat and/or difficulty breathing, consult a medical professional or UMaryland Immediate Care here on our campus. Please avoid contact with others until you have been evaluated by a health care provider.
  
Undoubtedly, in the coming days there will be more such cases of this illness, but we must not let fear and anxiety cause us to lose sight of the critical work that we do. Marylanders rely on UMB for our vital service to the community, our life-saving research, and our work to educate and prepare the next generation of health, law, and social service professionals. 

The most important thing we can all do now is to remain calm, compassionate, and civil. Never forget, we do our best work when we work together. This situation is rapidly changing and our advice will evolve, so stay tuned for future messages.
 
Sincerely,
 
Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS
Interim President

 


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