Update on confirmed case in Fresno County

Posted on March 7, 2020

Dear Fresno State Community:

As you may be aware, today (March 7) the Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH) confirmed the first case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Fresno County. This is a travel-related case and was not community-acquired. Two travelers presented themselves for testing after returning from a Grand Princess cruise on March 6, 2020. One (1) of these tests has returned as a presumptive positive case. The family of this individual is self-monitoring with FCPDH oversight at this time.

At this time, the FCDPH says there is no immediate threat to the general public, and the FCDPH is not recommending cancellation of events, closure of schools, or buildings at this time.

At this time, per the FCDPH, neither of the travelers are believed to be affiliated with the Fresno State community.

Since the status of classes and campus operations may be on people’s minds as they learn of the first confirmed case in Fresno County (not on campus), we want to reiterate a few key points made in previous campus messages.

  • Fresno State has an Incident Response Team that’s closely monitoring the situation. This team is composed of professionals from across campus, including individuals with expertise in public health and crisis management. Its main purpose is to closely assess the current risk to our community and to recommend proactive actions the University should take in response to this pressing issue.
  • We have campus preparedness plans and procedures in place in the event of any impact or disruption to campus operations.
  • As the situation evolves, we remain focused on balancing two imperatives: ensuring that we take prudent precautions to protect our community, while continuing our daily education and research activities in ways that are appropriate under the circumstances.
  • We will follow the direction of the Fresno County Department of Public Health and the CSU Chancellor’s Office before we make any decisions regarding significant changes to teaching continuity and campus operations. Consistent with other California public universities who have had confirmed cases in their county, we are not planning to cancel classes or suspend or modify operations at this time.
  • The University is in regular contact with the Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH), and has protocols in place with them to ensure quick and decisive communication and action as needed. We continue to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health (through FCDPH).
  • The University's custodial staff have implemented a cleaning protocol, including the use of disinfectants, and we have added staff dedicated to disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces. The Student Health Center also adheres to a high standard of infection control and prevention. Counters and waiting areas are cleaned and disinfected multiple times a day.
  • We encourage you to check the Fresno State Coronavirus Information webpage frequently to keep you updated on the University’s preparedness and status. Beyond health tips, travel advisories and related information, we also answer frequently asked questions. Given the fluid nature of the situation, please check back frequently to the webpage for updated information.

Beyond the University’s preparedness, here are actions that you can take to ensure we all stay as healthy as possible:

  • Stay informed:
  • Practice daily preventative care:
    • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, for 20 seconds at a time.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
    • Stay home if you are sick, are experiencing fever and respiratory symptoms (such as fever with coughing or difficulty breathing/shortness of breath).
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work and school.
    • Practice healthy habits: Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
    • If you have not received your annual flu shot, please schedule one with your provider to help protect yourself against the seasonal flu.
  • Remain calm:
    • While the progression of COVID-19 is still emerging, the CDC is reporting that for the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.

Again, we are taking all necessary precautions and are working with public health department officials.

We ask you to be kind and respectful to one another, as our Principles of Community guide our behaviors and interactions. This is a time to offer support, not to fall into unwarranted assumptions, much less the prejudice and bias that have been reported elsewhere.

Lastly, as we continue to monitor the situation, we will provide updates on the University’s website: fresnostate.edu/coronavirus as well as by email when appropriate.

We thank every member of our community for your ongoing support and collaboration as we continue to assess the effects of COVID-19 and determine our path forward.

Sincerely,
President Joseph I. Castro