July 24, 2020: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan Community,

Welcome to the dog days of summer. Did you know this expression actually comes from the rise of Sirius, the dog star, from July 3 to August 11? It has nothing to do with dogs, though my Labrador Retriever remains skeptical. And there’s your piece of trivia for the day!

I write to you amidst a heat wave in Connecticut, as my colleagues and I are working hard in preparation for the start of school, just over a month away. Today, I’d like to share details of Wesleyan’s plans for COVID-19 testing.

July 1, 2020: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan community,

Happy summer! The weather in Connecticut has been sunny and warm (some might say too hot!), and I am happy to report that cases of Covid-19 have continued to decrease in our state thanks to people generally following the rules. This is critically important as the University prepares to reactivate campus with the well-being, health and safety of our community top of mind. We will share much more information on the safety measures the University is planning in a campus update next week.

June 17, 2020: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan Community,

I trust your summer is off to a good start. I’m happy to report that currently the coronavirus in Connecticut appears to be slowing down with fewer hospitalizations and deaths.  Much of this is due to the strong efforts of many residents in adhering to social distancing, using face covers, and largely staying home. We are heading in the right direction but in no way should we let our guard down. If we become lax in our efforts, we can very well experience a resurgence or ‘’second wave” of the virus…

June 4, 2020: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan Community,

I hope this finds you safe and healthy. This past week, the impact of the pandemic has been overshadowed by the terrible news that is gripping our country. The senseless death of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arberry, Breonna Taylor, and so many others; the ugliness of racism; and the disregard for human life. We all need to do everything in our power to promote respect, kindness, and caring to all.

You may have seen other troubling headlines recently noting that the World Health Organization (WHO) surmises Covid-19 may be here to stay. This is bad news, but perhaps not as bad as it may sound…

May 28, 2020: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan community,

Congratulations to all students for completing this academic year, and especially the Class of 2020, whom we celebrated during a virtual Commencement this past weekend. Knowing this class the way I do, I know you will be making our world a better place.

With the 2019-20 academic year officially a wrap, we now turn our full attention to planning for the next year. One thing that will be increasingly important as we prepare for an eventual return to residential education is contact tracing, and I’d like to offer a brief introduction…

May 20, 2020: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan Community,

Ask any driver about what irritates them, and you are likely to hear about other drivers who drive too slowly, and those who drive too fast. These tend to be subjective observations, but speed limits do give us objective guidance as to the appropriate speed of travel.

Unfortunately, there are no posted speed limits or minimum speeds listed for reopening a state. This week in Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont has announced a phased-in reopening beginning today, May 20. I would like to discuss this from a public health perspective. 

As some offices, retail businesses, restaurants, and other establishments begin to re-open, my take-home message to you all is: proceed with caution. If at all possible, continue to stay home. I urge continued self-isolation even more strongly for anyone over 65 years of age, or those who have medical conditions that place them at high risk…

May 14, 2020: Public Health Update

From: Tom McLarney, MD

Subject: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan Community,

Not only does the coronavirus continue to challenge us, but the predictably unpredictable New England weather is keeping us guessing with snow squalls in May! I hope everyone is weathering this season of uncertainty.

Over the past week, we’ve continued to learn more about Covid-19—particularly how it may be affecting children, who were previously thought to be largely spared by this disease. The medical community is now seeing a condition in children called Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS), which is believed to be caused by Covid-19. The initial case was described in England in late April as a combination of Toxic Shock Syndrome and Kawasaki Disease (KD), the most common inflammatory condition affecting children aged 6 months to 5 years. At this time, there have been over 70 reported cases of PMIS in the New York City area with other reports of similar cases in Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and cities in Europe. PMIS is characterized by fever and rash, as well as with some or all of the other signs and symptoms of KD, including swollen lymph nodes, rash all over the body and most notably on the palms and soles of feet, and the characteristic “strawberry tongue.”  Not all the patients have tested positive for Covid-19 but a significant number have. At this time, experts feel this possible manifestation of Covid-19 is rare, but parents are advised to have any child with these symptoms promptly evaluated.  

Also this past week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidelines on when a person can be released from quarantine (whether due to a positive test or, more commonly, due to clinical presentation since tests are still not readily available). The criteria include a minimum of 10 days quarantine, improving symptoms, and no fever for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication…

May 7, 2020: Public Health Update

From: Tom McLarney, MD
Subject: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan Community,

Once again, I hope this note finds you all safe and well. My thoughts go out to all of you who have been personally affected by Covid-19. 

As we continue to follow the course of this pandemic, we see parts of our country (and the world) start the process of reopening while other areas brace for possible increased cases of Covid-19. As of this week, Connecticut has over 30,000 confirmed cases and over 2,000 deaths, but has seen an overall significant decline in hospitalizations over the past two weeks. Governor Lamont is looking at criteria for beginning to re-open the state, including 14 days of decreased hospitalizations; adequate testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), and healthcare capacity; substantial contact tracing; and protection of high-risk populations. If these goals are met, we may see a partial re-opening by May 20.

What is new?…

April 29, 2020: Public Health Update

From: Tom McLarney, MD
Subject: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan Community,

Wishing you all health and safety. My thoughts go out to those of you who have been personally been affected by Covid-19.

As is often the case, the more you know about something, the more there is to know.  This is certainly true about Covid-19.  I would like to summarize a number of current issues, knowing that this information will continue to evolve as we learn more.

First, we are becoming aware of the wide variety of ways that Covid-19 can present. From the very beginning, we have all known about the symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath that gradually build (in contrast to influenza, which typically hits hard and fast). This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially added six other symptoms commonly seen with the coronavirus, including: loss of taste and smell, chills, shaking chills (rigors), headache, muscle aches, and sore throat…

April 23, 2020: Public Health Update

From: Tom McLarney, MD
Subject: Public Health Update

To the Wesleyan Community,

Greetings from the Davison Health Center. As of Monday evening, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has mandated by executive order that face coverings be worn in public anywhere a 6-foot distance is unavoidable, including in stores, pharmacies, and at grab-and-go restaurants, as well as when using public transportation and in the workplace. Employees working on Wesleyan’s campus are required to wear face coverings while at work and when the 6-foot distancing requirement is unattainable. Employees may have some flexibility when working in offices alone with the door closed, but must have a face covering available. Please see the State of Connecticut’s “Safe Workplace Rules for Essential Employees.”

Wesleyan is offering free face coverings to students, faculty, and staff on campus. Students may pick up masks at a pop-up station on the main floor of Usdan. Staff and faculty masks are available for pick-up at Wes station in the basement of Usdan…