COVID-19 Preparedness and Response

There is global concern and uncertainty due to the novel coronavirus disease (known as COVID-19). We understand there may be anxiety, and we care about our community. TMCC has a team in place and is working with health officials to monitor and respond accordingly.

Here are some of the actions that each of us can take to ensure that we all stay as healthy as possible:

Stay informed: ND Department of Health and the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Practice daily preventative care: Prevention (CDC)

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 the virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding TMCC’s COVID-19 planning and response. Ongoing updates related to COVID-19 planning and response will be shared with the TMCC community via email and will also be added to this webpage dedicated to information on the novel coronavirus.

Is TMCC aware of any known COVID-19 cases in the TMCC community?

We know of no members in the TMCC community with COVID-19.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the name for the disease caused by the recent spread of a Novel Coronavirus.  Coronaviruses are a member of a large family of viruses. Many of them infect animals, but some coronaviruses from animals can evolve (change) into a new human coronavirus that can spread from person-to-person. This is what happened with the current novel coronavirus which causes the disease known as COVID-19. Diseases from coronaviruses in people typically cause mild to moderate illness, like the common cold. Some, like the SARS or MERS viruses, cause serious infections like pneumonia. The name of this new virus is SARS-CoV-2; the disease caused by this virus is known as COVID-19.

What are the Symptoms?

According to the CDC, symptoms of the virus include:

  • runny nose
  • headache
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • a general feeling of being unwell

The CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. The illness can be more serious for individuals with a weakened immune system, the elderly, or those with underlying respiratory problems. It could result in bronchitis and pneumonia.

How does the virus spread?
  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.

How can I protect myself from acquiring the virus?
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • 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.
  • Be aware that facemasks are not recommended for healthy individuals.
What is TMCC doing to respond to COVID-19?
  • Activating our Crisis Management Response Team, with representation from across campus that are monitoring the situation and preparing to respond to various scenarios.
  • Staying in regular communication with state health officials. Regularly monitoring national and state organizations, including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), North Dakota Department of Health and Fargo Cass Public Health.
  • Monitoring and reacting to changes in travel recommendations from official government agencies.
  • Keeping our community informed by sharing best practices and expert guidance on public health infection control.
Has TMCC implemented any travel restrictions?

Yes. TMCC community members who have traveled to any country with a Level 3 Travel Notice from the CDC must stay away from campus and self-monitor for 14 days. The situation is changing rapidly and the list is subject to change. Prior to returning to campus after international travel, we advise you to follow the procedures in place from the North Dakota Department of Health for proper steps regarding any self-monitoring that could be required.

If you have personal travel plans for the Spring Break period, monitor the travel recommendations at travel.state.gov and cdc.gov for updated information.

How is TMCC reducing the risk of exposure?

We have established a crisis management response team responsible for preparing, monitoring and reacting to the spread of this disease.  The team is following the guidance of health officials to help in its efforts of preparation and response.  In messages to the campus community, we have provided information about the international COVID-19 outbreak and steps being taken along with recommendations on how to minimize the risk of acquiring infection for this as well as the common cold and influenza. The CDC also provides guidance on this topic at these sites:

Is TMCC restricting visitors to campus?

Because US health officials still consider the risk of contracting COVID-19 in North Dakota to be low, there has been no reason to restrict visitor access to the TMCC campus.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
  • runny nose
  • headache
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • a general feeling of being unwell

The CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. The illness can be more serious for individuals with a weakened immune system, the elderly, or those with underlying respiratory problems. It could result in bronchitis and pneumonia.

What if I am immunocompromised or have another chronic medical condition?

According to the CDC, it is possible that older adults and people with underlying chronic medical conditions such as immunocompromising conditions, chronic lung, heart or kidney disease, may be at risk for more severe outcomes related to COVID-19. It is recommended that if you have any underlying chronic medical condition, you consult with your doctor on ways to protect yourself.

It is currently the flu season in the US, and advice for those with chronic medical conditions is the same as always: Prevention is key! Wash your hands, avoid those who are coughing or sneezing, do not touch your face and clean frequently touched objects and surfaces. A mask is currently not recommended if you are immunocompromised, but you should always check with your doctor about what’s best for your specific situation.

What to Do if You Are Sick

Anyone who has returned from an affected region within the past 14 days and is sick with fever and a cough, or difficulty breathing, should seek medical care immediately and call ahead to the doctor’s office to inform them of recent travel and symptoms. Students with symptoms should call Student Health Service at (701) 231-7331. Faculty and staff should contact their primary healthcare provider.

What about stigmatization or bias related to the COVID-19?

Many of us are concerned about what the people in our communities may be experiencing, including possible stigmatization or discrimination based on racial bias or appearances. Please help others understand that the risk of coronavirus is not at all connected with race, ethnicity or nationality.  Stigma doesn’t fight the illness and will hurt innocent people, but sharing accurate information during a time of heightened concern is one of the best things we can do to keep rumor and misinformation from spreading.  Guidance is available from the CDC regarding this issue.

What other resources are available to learn more about COVID-19?

There are a variety of regularly updated resources available to those who want to learn more about COVID-19: