Auburn University anticipating and preparing for COVID-19 infections

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AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – The state of Alabama remains clear of any confirmed cases of Coronavirus. However, as the virus continues to spread across, health experts on Auburn University’s campus believe it’s only a matter of time before the virus reaches our community.

News 3 spoke with Dr. Frederick Kam, who is the Executive Director of the Auburn University Medical Clinic. Dr. Kam says a team of campus decision-makers are monitoring the situation hourly and are prepared to close campus if necessary to stop the spread. Auburn University is updating the AU family daily and sometimes hourly via www.auburn.edu.

If campus does shut down leaders are working on plans to minimize impacts on the AU family.

“We are in a state of readiness, reviewing a number of items. There are so many moving parts, but at this point in time, I am feeling good where we are right now and we continue to ramp up. I’m operating under the assumption it’s a when instead of an if and I think that is the wise direction for us to take,” said Dr. Kam.

Dr. Kam says he is not sure of a timeline on when to expect to see the first cases. However, when a case is dedicated AU is prepared to work with the Alabama Department of Health and others how best to proceed.

“If we do go into shutdown mode it will probably be for a minimum of four weeks,” said Dr. Kam.

Dr. Kam says technology should allow students to continue learning online. Sporting events will be evaluated as necessary. The plan is for essential pockets of AU like ongoing research labs, and AU’s vet clinic to continue operations.

‘We are in a constant state of planning and monitoring mode. We are keeping close contact with those who are overseas who are associated with Auburn University. We have a group of people monitoring this situation hour by hour,” said Kam.

Dr. Kam urges the community not to panic follow the CDC for updated info and prepare.

“I think we need to think about what would I need in order to self-quarantine for at least 14 days,” said Dr. Cam.

The CDC advises that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

Here are everyday actions to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home when you are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Exerts are pushing people to use consistent and thorough hand washing techniques. Dr. Kam says based on the data he has seen the virus is the most dangerous for the older population who have underlying health issues.

Students and faculty who have reason to believe they may have been exposed or have any coronavirus symptoms should call the Auburn University Medical Clinic at 334-844-6125 before visiting the clinic. After hours or on weekends, they should go to the ER at East Alabama Medical Center, preferably with a mask on.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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