March 5, 2020 - Information and Guidance
At the Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs, we have been actively monitoring COVID-19 (coronavirus) and are providing the informational links below for educational guidance and precautionary steps you can take as an individual.
Our current work is focused in three main areas:
Protect yourself and others
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the New York State Department of Health have provided clear recommendations that we as individuals can follow to reduce or prevent the spread of COVID-19. In order to provide the best level of protection for yourself and others, please engage in the following practices:
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is one of the most important things you can do to help prevent the spread of disease, including COVID-19. Washing your hands with warm or cold water is equally effective, according to the CDC.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (or if necessary cough into your elbow). Dispose of the tissue immediately after use and wash your hands.
- Regularly disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched by people (time clocks, light switches, door knobs, etc.)
We have increased the number of disinfectant wipe packets and hand sanitizers available around campus. We appreciate your efforts to use these products responsibly so that we maintain an adequate supply to meet our needs through the upcoming weeks.
As of today, both the CDC and WHO have reported that there is no evidence that companion animals such as dogs and cats can act as a source of infection for COVID-19. We will continue to monitor new information as it arises.
It is important to remember that for our own general health and the health of our dogs, we should wash our hands frequently, especially after handling, feeding, or cleaning up after our dogs.
If you would like to follow the latest news about the impact of COVID-19 on companion animals, here are some links to trustworthy sources of up-to-date information:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention FAQ: COVID-19 and Animals
World Health Organization: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Healthy Pets, Healthy People (general information about preventing the spread of disease from pets to people)
New Yorkers can call the state hotline at 1-888-364-3065, where experts can answer questions regarding coronavirus.
Preparation for possible impact
Given the public health risk of the virus and the limited information available as the experts continue to develop recommendations and guidelines, we are doing our best to plan for some changes that might occur in the near future. Our current activities include:
- Program and facilities managers are ensuring that we have an adequate supply of essentials such as cleaning supplies, paper goods, dog food, and medications in the event of a short-term supply chain disruption (for example, if multiple people from one of our local distributors are out sick).
- We are investigating potential modifications to our operations and are continually assessing the situation.
- We are in communication with colleagues within the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International to share resources, information, and responses that will best serve our consumers and other stakeholders.
While we are all hopeful that we can minimize impacts of COVID-19 on our campus, we are also engaged in the following preparations:
- We are seeking guidance from the CDC, WHO, and the NYS Department of Health on current standards and workplace guidance for COVID-19.
- We are actively communicating with the NYS Department of Health to understand our obligations and required actions in the event that a guest staying at our student residence is diagnosed with COVID-19.
News about the spread of any new disease can be upsetting, especially when so much remains unknown. Our best advice is to remain calm. Seek out reputable sources of information, and do not pass along rumors or unconfirmed information on social media or among your family, friends, or colleagues. As new information becomes available, we will be sure to provide updates when they are available to you and our community.