Advice for AIT Community: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

At present, there is an ongoing outbreak of a novel coronavirus, following an outbreak in late December 2019 when Chinese authorities identified a cluster which has since spread to other countries, including in Europe*. The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre is monitoring the situation and updating its website www.hpsc.ie regularly.

The safety and wellbeing of the Athlone Institute of Technology community, is and always will be, our highest priority and we are carefully considering the official advice available to us, and our responsibility to ensure the welfare of our students, staff and visitors.

In relation to COVID-19, the Institute is monitoring the situation on a daily basis and are following the guidance of the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre and Public Health Team.

While at present, there are no confirmed cases of COVID -19 in Ireland, our highest priority remains the safety and wellbeing of our community and therefore we ask that people are mindful of the current advice from the HSE.

The institute continues to monitor the situation closely and is taking preventative steps at present which includes placing alcohol-based hand sanitizers at certain building entrance locations across the campus, for students, staff and visitors to our campus.

We are providing support to students / staff if they have travelled to or from any of the affected regions.

Our student health centre has in place the approved HSE protocol for the treatment of suspected cases, if they were to arise.

In addition we will provide information updates to the campus community if there is a change in the current National Health Protection protocols.

General Advice for all staff and students:

Like any virus, to help reduce the risk of infection:

Wash your hands regularly with soap and water and/or alcohol (min 60%) based hand sanitizer for a minimum of 20 seconds and in particular:

• after coughing or sneezing

• after toilet use

• before eating

• before and after preparing food

• if you are in contact with a sick person, especially those with respiratory symptoms

• if your hands are dirty

• if you have handled animals or animal waste

In addition, please fine below national advice and guidance protocol issued by the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre in relation to COVID – 19. Please note that all live and updated advice is available on the HSE website which can be accessed via www.hse.ie or via the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre www.hpsc.ie

Advice for Students/Staff who have returned to Athlone Institute of Technology from affected areas:

1. Phone HSE Live on 1850 24 1850 if in the past 14 days you’ve been to one of the following affected areas:

• China

• Hong Kong

• Japan

• Singapore

• South Korea

• In Italy, the provinces, Lombardy, Piemonte, Veneto and Emilia – Romangna

2. You should also contact the HSE if you have been:

• In contact with a person who has coronavirus

• In a hospital or healthcare centre where people are being treated for coronavirus

When you phone you will be asked:

• details of your stay

• where you were

• if you have been in contact with a person who has coronavirus

• if you have been in a hospital or healthcare centre where patients with coronavirus are being treated

• if you have symptoms of coronavirus

You will be told what you need to do next.

What you will need to do

If you are well and have not been in contact with coronavirus, you will be told to watch out for symptoms over the next 14 days. You can continue with your daily life and go to work/college as usual.

If you have had close contact with a person who has coronavirus, you will be monitored for 14 days. A doctor will phone you daily to make sure you remain well. You will be asked to stay separate from other people as much as you can for 14 days. This includes not going to work/college

If you have been to an affected area in the last 14 days and have a cough, fever, feel short of breath or have difficulty breathing

DO:

• If you are a student – phone the Institute Nurse Emergency Mobile 087 9977437 during office hours or the Out of Hours Emergency GP Service 1850 302 702 between 6pm – 8am immediately

• If you are staff – phone your GP or Emergency Department

• Stay indoors

• Avoid contact with other people

• Follow this advice even if your symptoms are mild

DO NOT GO TO THE STUDENT HEALTH CENTRE / EMERGENCY DOCTOR – PHONE FIRST. This is so that you do not accidentally put other people at risk.

* Ref - https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/

Ref: HSE https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus.html

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