Health Update: Coronavirus COVID-19


January 29, 2020

Dear Berkeley Community,

Berkeley College is keeping a watch on the coronavirus outbreak amid recent developments. At this time, there are no reported coronavirus cases in New York and New Jersey and no cases at Berkeley College.

The coronavirus is a novel virus that originated in Wuhan, China. It is a respiratory illness in a family of viruses that include the common cold, and viruses such as SARS and MERS. As of January 29, 2020, it has resulted in more than 6,000 confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan City. Additional cases have been identified in a number of other countries, including the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Warning on all nonessential travel to China, the highest level of travel restrictions.

Campus Community Conversations in White Plains
Given the concentration of students from China at the White Plains campus, the Office of Student Development and Campus Life and Global Alliance are in the process of hosting conversations with all interested students to address their concerns. A WeChat community room (the China version of the WhatsApp mobile messaging service) is in development to allow individuals confined to their homes in China the opportunity to speak with family members and friends at Berkeley College.

About the Coronavirus
Signs and symptoms of this illness include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. This novel form of the coronavirus has the potential to cause severe disease and death. Available information suggests that older adults and people with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems may be at increased risk of severe disease.

Because coronavirus symptoms replicate the flu, it is important not to panic, and to see your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. There are several known coronaviruses that infect people. These viruses usually only cause mild respiratory disease, such as the common cold. However, at least two previously identified coronaviruses have caused severe disease — severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus. Initially, some patients were linked to the Wuhan South China Seafood City (also called the South China Seafood Wholesale Market and the Hua Nan Seafood Market).  

Caution to Travelers to and from China
If you were in China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or have difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. Anyone who has travelled recently to Wuhan and is symptomatic should not come to classes or offices until cleared by a licensed healthcare provider or deemed safe following a two-week observation period.

Travel Alerts
In response to this outbreak, Chinese officials are screening travelers leaving some cities in China. Several countries and territories throughout the world are reported to have implemented health screening of travelers arriving from China. On arrival to the United States, travelers from China may be asked questions to determine if they need to undergo health screening. Travelers with signs and symptoms of illness (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing) will have an additional health assessment.

For Additional Information
We are monitoring the situation and are in contact with our colleagues in China and students and staff in the United States to ensure the exchange of information that keeps us current on the status of the outbreak.

More information on the coronavirus can be found on The World Health Organization website.
If students have any questions, please refer them to the list below on how to contact a Student Development and Campus Life Representative at their local campus.

Dallas Reed, PhD
Vice President
Student Development and Campus Life