On-Campus Member of Georgetown Community Confirmed with COVID-19

Dr. Vince WinklerPrins, Chief Public Health Officer at Georgetown University, provides us here with the latest information on COVID-19. For your information:

Dear Members of the Georgetown Community,

I write today to share the news that a member of the Georgetown community who teaches on the Main Campus has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual has not been on our campus since March 2 and presented symptoms after our transition to a virtual learning environment. The individual is now at their permanent residence and is receiving needed care and treatment.

The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services is working with this individual and will reach out to anyone they identify as being at risk due to their exposure. Out of an abundance of caution, we are informing all Georgetown community members. In addition, this individual’s classroom and nearby areas are being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. 

In line with the national trajectory, we anticipate there will be other members of the Georgetown community who are diagnosed with COVID-19 in the days ahead. Georgetown has convened regular leadership meetings since the emergence of COVID-19, activated an Emergency Response Team and has coordinated closely with local health departments and higher education partners. 

Georgetown’s Health Information site is available as a resource if you are feeling sick, have been in contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, or need best practices for self-quarantine and social distancing.

Moving forward, all subsequent confirmed cases will be posted on Georgetown’s COVID-19 Resource Center, which is updated daily. If you would like to receive a daily update listing all new COVID-19 communications sent by Georgetown, subscribe to our daily digest. Should you have additional questions, please contact our university call center at (202) 784-3510, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 

We remind our community to take the necessary precautions and practice social distancing, ideally maintaining at least six feet between you and others at all times. By remaining calm, following procedures and working together, the spread of illness should be significantly reduced.

The health and well-being of our community is our paramount concern. We thank you for your patience and ongoing support as we respond to this rapidly changing public health emergency.

Sincerely,

Vince WinklerPrins, MD, FAAFP

Chief Public Health Officer

COVID-19 Update: Public Health Alert Regarding Travel from Europe

To help clarify misunderstandings, here is a new policy position paper dealing with Covid-19 from our chief public health officer.  Yes, there have been significant losses attributable to this health care threat, but it pays off in understanding when one compares the losses in lives, property, and steadiness of soul from, say, the bubonic plague or the great influenza epidemic.

We must reorient ourselves and our outlooks and let us pray that we do so in a spirit of future prosperity, which links us together under new conditions of social distancing. There will be changes, new playbooks, playing fields and even new games and rules, but we can expect to help us and others in achieving renewed success. May God bless you and all of our partners.

Please check this message below from Dr. Vince WinklerPrins, Georgetown University Chief Public Health Officer:

Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community,

I am writing today to provide an update regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

Following the release of new federal guidance for those who have recently traveled to the United States from Europe,“Travelers returning from the specified countries in Europe must stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing.” No one returning from any of these countries—including student, faculty, staff or visitor —should come to campus before completing at least a 14-day self quarantine in an off-campus residence.

This guidance applies to all countries designated as Level 3 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due to COVID-19. Newly designated countries now include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City.

As a reminder, all university-sponsored travel has been suspended for faculty, staff and students until further notice, and beginning Monday, March 16, the university is moving to a virtual learning environment and, as a consequence, is also moving to an operating status of a telework flexible environment. 

Please refer to Georgetown’s travel guidance on our website

We know that we have many members of our community with friends and family members who may be impacted by the virus. We encourage anyone who might need support to reach out to university resources, including the Office of Campus Ministry, Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) and Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP).

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we work through this evolving public health emergency. You can find all university updates, answers to frequently asked questions and other resources related to coronavirus on the Georgetown University website.

Sincerely,

Vince WinklerPrins, MD, FAAFP

Chief Public Health Officer

COVID-19 Public Health Alert: Case Being Treated at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

This is a message from Dr. Vince WinklerPrins, Georgetown University Chief Public Health Officer on March 9, 2020.

Dear Members of the Georgetown Community,

As you may know, DC Health has announced the District’s first presumptive positive case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We have learned that our clinical partner, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (MGUH), is caring for a patient who has been diagnosed through laboratory and clinical assessment for the COVID-19 virus. The care is being directed by a specialized team of clinicians trained to treat patients with a variety of communicable diseases.

DC Health is coordinating closely with MGUH, where the patient is currently being treated and all infection control protocols are fully implemented. This includes measures that ensure patient isolation, the use of protective equipment and the deployment of infection control and sterilization measures.

While no one in the Georgetown community has tested positive for COVID-19, MGUH is working closely with the CDC and DC Health and following all CDC protocols for patients and any staff and medical students who may have been impacted. Their health and safety is our top priority.  

Since January, Georgetown University has convened regular leadership meetings on this issue, activated an Emergency Response Team and has coordinated closely with DC Health, colleagues at MGUH and higher education partners. We have sent regular updates to the community, all of which are posted on an informational website along with other resources for our community.

We will continue to provide regular updates as we take additional measures to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. Earlier this week, all of our faculty members and academic staff were given resources on how to prepare for instructional continuity in the event we need to move to an online teaching environment.

We recognize this announcement may cause great concern and anxiety for members of our community. We encourage anyone who might need support to reach out to university resources, including the Office of Campus Ministry, Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) and Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP)

As we have shared previously, the CDC and DC Health recommend the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds multiple times a day. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used if soap and water are not available;
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • Stay home when feeling sick;
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

We will continue to evaluate the situation on a daily basis and update you as needed. Please be aware that we are working in a rapidly changing environment, and we may need to amend our policies on short notice.

You can find all university updates, answers to frequently asked questions and other resources related to coronavirus on the Georgetown University website.

Sincerely,

Vince WinklerPrins, MD, FAAFP

Chief Public Health Officer