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REMEMBER: If you feel sick or have cold- or flu-like symptoms

GO HOME or STAY HOME. Take a COVID-19 test.


Recent COVID Email Updates


Check here for the latest email communications from the Flu Team regarding COVID-19.

REMEMBER: If you feel sick or have cold- or flu-like symptoms, GO HOME or STAY HOME. Take a COVID-19 test. 

Colleagues, 

As of October 31, 2022, the Governor of Washington rescinded the Washington State higher education COVID emergency proclamations.  The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) still requires us to notify employees who have been exposed in the workplace. This email will provide details on our notification procedures and other steps we will continue to take as a campus in regard to COVID-19. 

Effective December 5th, 2022, the college will transition from individual notifications to campus-wide notifications for COVID exposures.  Notification details: 

  • The campus will be notified once per day in a single campus-wide email, Monday through Friday.  If the campus does not receive any positive test notifications on a particular day, then an email will not be sent out.
  • Notifications will go out when a student, employee or visitor notifies the college they tested positive for COVID-19 and were on campus within two days prior or five days after testing positive 
  • Notifications will include information such as date tested positive, locations visited, and date last on campus 
  • When five or more people test positive, within a 72-hour time period and it occurs in one area, event, department, etc., the college will individually notify everyone who was potentially exposed 
  • As of January 15th, 2023, the college will transition from emailing the information to posting it on a campus website that anyone can view 

This notification process change provides everyone on campus with information on where and when they may have been exposed to someone who tested positive and reduces the administrative impact.   

Additional COVID-19 precautions and practices that will continue at Bellevue College: 

  • Masks continue to be optional, unless otherwise required by the college 
  • The college will provide masks and COVID-19 supply caddies as requested 
  • Employees and students are strongly encouraged to stay home when feeling sick and to take a COVID test if they experience any COVID symptoms 
  • Employees and students who test positive still need to fill out a COVID report (the college no longer requires COVID reporting for symptoms or for potential exposure to COVID) 
  • Faculty are encouraged to include in their syllabi the COVID reporting information and reminders to stay home when sick 
  • Students who need to stay home sick should contact their instructors; employees who need to stay home sick should notify their supervisors 

One final note: data is indicating this will be a rough flu season.  Get a flu shot!  Stay home if you feel sick! 

Dennis Curran

Vice President of Administrative Services

425.564.2446

Nov. 29, 2022

This update contains information and resources so you can stay safe.

Remember – we’re all in this together!

OVERVIEW

While seasonal influenza (flu) viruses are detected year-round in the United States, flu viruses typically circulate during the fall and winter during what’s known as the flu season. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons varies, but flu activity often begins to increase in October. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although significant activity can last as late as May. Since the start of the COVID pandemic, the timing and duration of flu activity has been less predictable.

Though it’s common to use the term “flu” to refer to a cold or other respiratory illness, the flu is much worse. It’s a highly contagious viral infection. The flu is unpredictable, and it can be severe, especially for the elderly, children, pregnant individuals, and those with certain health conditions. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people in the United States are hospitalized with the flu, and tens of thousands of people die.

The flu spreads easily from person to person through coughs and sneezes. Adults can infect others one day before they show symptoms and up to five days after they get sick. Children can spread the virus for ten or more days.

KING COUNTY COVID DASHBOARD 

View the most recent data for King County.  Data are updated Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and reflect laboratory results reported to the Washington State Department of Health as of midnight the day before.  

NEED TO KNOW

Flu Symptoms

·        Fever

·        Cough

·        Sore throat

·        Runny or stuffy nose.

·        Muscle or body aches, chills

·        Headaches

·        Fatigue

·        Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

Vaccinations

Everyone six months of age and older should get an annual flu vaccine to prevent sickness, healthcare visits, hospitalizations, and deaths from influenza. The flu vaccine is your best protection. Protection lasts throughout the flu season, which usually peaks in January or February and continues into the spring. Some children and adults may be eligible to receive nasal spray flu vaccine.

The Washington State Department of Health recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone aged six-months and older, including pregnant and nursing people. If you are 65 or older, talk to your provider about flu vaccine and other important vaccines for your age group.

It takes two weeks for the vaccine to protect you from flu. The flu vaccine does not protect against coronavirus, colds, or other viruses that cause respiratory illness.

The flu vaccine keeps many people from getting the flu. Some people who get the flu vaccine may still get sick. If you do get the flu, the vaccine will help reduce the severity of your illness. It will also lower your chance of needing to go to the hospital.

Other Measures

In addition to getting vaccinated, wash hands often and cover your cough.

If You Get Sick

  • Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.
  • Take antivirals drugs – if prescribed by a health care provider.

Review more information for people who are sick.

Monitoring at BC

The Flu Team and President’s Cabinet will continue to track local, state, and national health guidance as it determines the path forward for the college.

RESOURCES

Visit your local doctor’s office, pharmacy, or clinic event. Go to www.vaccinefinder.org or call the Help Me Grow Washington hotline at 1-800-322-2588 (language assistance available) to find a flu vaccine location near you.

  • In Washington, all children under age 19 get flu vaccines and other recommended vaccines at no cost. The provider may charge an administration fee to give the vaccine. You can ask them to waive this fee if you cannot afford it.
  • Most insurance plans, including Medicare part B, cover the cost of flu vaccine for adults.
  • Consult your local health department for information about other no-cost flu vaccine options that may be available in your community.

Note: Flu and COVID-19 vaccines can both be received in the same day, or even the same visit for convenience.

FLU NEWS 

OFFICIAL STATE INFORMATION SOURCES 

Information and follow-up guidance is continually evolving. Here are some additional websites to help you stay informed: 

·       Washington State Department of Health

·        Public Health Seattle and King County

Stay well,

The Flu Team

Welcome back to campus!  A lot of COVID related guidance has changed over the last few months, so the Flu Team wanted to provide some updates. Our goal is to keep employees and students as safe as possible, while adapting to the latest COVID guidance and balancing the need for in-person services and classes. 

Emergency Proclamations 

Governor Inslee announced he will rescind all remaining COVID emergency proclamations no later than October 31, 2022.  This includes the higher education proclamation that requires all institutions of higher education to declare whether they are a vaccinated or unvaccinated campus.   

Until further notice, Bellevue College remains a vaccinated campus, which requires students to either be vaccinated or have an exemption from the College.  Employees are required to do the same, per Governor Inslee’s order that all state employees must be vaccinated or have an exemption/accommodation from their employer.  At this time, it is unclear what, if any, requirements will exist beyond October 31st.  The Flu Team and President’s Cabinet will continue to monitor for updates and provide more information as it becomes available. 

Masking Guidelines   

KN95 and N95 masks provide the best protection against spreading COVID.  Surgical masks are the next most effective, followed by double layered cloth masks.     

While masks are not required on campus, please respect those who choose to wear one.  Employees and students wear masks for a number of reasons and it’s important we respect that decision.  If someone chooses to wear a mask, BC recommends wearing the KN95. The college will provide KN95 masks to all employees who request them (up to five masks per month).  Employees can obtain masks through their department/unit.

**Please remember that students cannot be required to wear a mask in public spaces.**

Department representatives can obtain KN95 masks through the College’s request center.  The attached document provides details on how to determine the appropriate number of masks. Surgical masks can also be ordered for distribution in classrooms and other areas where students may be present. Most classrooms should continue to have a cleaning caddy that contains masks. Check with your Division Operations Director if your classroom does not have one.  

Reporting exposures or positive COVID tests

To ensure that BC responds as quickly and effectively as possible, students and employees must report a confirmed close contact, COVID-like symptoms, or a positive COVID test using the online COVID report form.  

This form provides information to a limited number of administrators who will implement the appropriate exposure or infection protocol. The protocol includes notifying those who may have had close contact and sanitizing facilities, as necessary.  This notification will also cover what an instructor needs to do in the event of an exposure in a classroom. 

Please fill out the form as soon as possible, even if you are not working or attending class on campus.  

We will continue to monitor developments and let you know if the College’s guidance changes. Thank you in advance for everything you do to help create a safe, and healthy campus. 

AUGUST 17, 2022

This newsletter contains the latest information and an array of resources.

Remember, we are all in this together!

(Most of the information in the following Monkeypox (MPV) article comes from a message sent by the University of Washington Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases, updated on July 26. The BC Flu Team modified sections of this message on August 4 to reflect the most current understanding of the virus. We will continue to update information as the outbreak develops and additional guidance is disseminated from appropriate authorities.)

MPV: A PRIMER

  • What is MPV: MPV is a rare viral infectionthat has not often been seen in the U.S. It can cause a rash that looks like bumps, blisters or ulcers. Some people have flu-like illness before the rash develops. Most people recover in 2–4 weeks, but the disease can be serious, especially for children and people who are immune compromised or pregnant.
  • How Does MPV Spread: MPV is usually spread from one person to another through close contact (often skin-to skin). Routes of transmission include: 

·        Direct physical contact with MPV rash, sores, or scabs from a person with MPV. The CDC believes this is currently the most common way that MPV is spreading in the U.S. 

·        Skin-to-skin contact (touching an infected person) which includes casual contact and intimate contact like sex

·        Respiratory droplets (breathing and talking near an infected person)

·        Fomite transmission, which means touching clothing, bedding, or an object an infected person has touched

Note: Anyone can contract MPV, regardless of sexual orientation or sexual behavior. While many recent cases have been tied to sexual contact, this is just one of the ways to contract MPV.

  • What are symptoms of MPV?  The illness can begin with flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, back and muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and general exhaustion, followed by a rash(usually painful) that can look like pimples or blisters. 

·         Symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure to the virus.

·         Within 1-4 days of symptoms beginning, people usually develop a rash or sores. 

·        The sores might be located on or near the genitals or anus, but sometimes occur in other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or in the mouth. Sores often go through several stages before healing, which takes about three weeks. 

·         An individual isn’t considered contagious until symptoms appear; they remain contagious until all sores have healed, a new layer of skin is formed, and scabs have fallen off. 

  • What to do if you experience symptoms? 

·        Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you develop a new, unexplained rash or lesions on any part of the body or if you think you have been exposed. They can help get you access to the appropriate testing, if needed. 

·        Avoid sex or other close, intimate contact with others until you have been evaluated. 

·        Avoid gatherings, especially if they involve close, personal, skin-to-skin contact or prolonged face-to-face contact. 

·         Talk to your partner(s) about any recent illness and be aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner’s body, including rashes on the genitals and anus. 

  • What to Do If Your Healthcare Provider Suspects or Confirms You Have an MPV Infection? 

·         Isolate at home until the rash has fully resolved, the scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed. This is when you are no longer contagious to others. Follow the CDC monkeypox isolation guidelines.

·         Follow any additional guidelines provided by your healthcare provider.  

  • How Can You Reduce Your Risk and Prevent Spread? 

·         Avoid skin to skin contact with someone who may be sick (flu-like symptoms and/or open sores)

·        Avoid sharing towels, clothes, drinks, eating utensils, and other items that have come into contact with another person’s skin or bodily fluids.

·        Handwashing and hand sanitizing, just like with COVID-19, can help prevent transmission

·        Mask wearing, just like with COVID-19, can help prevent transmission via respiratory droplets

·         Avoid events and venues where skin-to-skin contact is inevitable or part of the event (packed in dance venues, other crowded spaces, places where people may have less clothing on or be engaging in close touching) 

·         Settings and events where individuals do not have skin-to-skin contact are generally low risk (e.g., classrooms and offices). However, if attending an event, please be mindful of activities (e.g., kissing, sharing drinks and eating utensils) that might increase the risk for spreading MPV. 

  • Is There a MPV Vaccine? When properly administered before or after a recent exposure, vaccines can be effective tools at protecting people against MPV illness and can make it less severe after exposure. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have questions about getting vaccinated against MPV. 

Supplies of the MPV vaccine are currently limited, both locally and nationally. Many health jurisdictions are prioritizing vaccination to those who are at high risk for infection.  

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced an enhanced strategy to vaccinate and protect at-risk individuals from MPV. 

King County has a very limited supply of MPV vaccine. Supplies are expected to increase later this summer and this fall. Visit the Public Health – Seattle & King County Monkeypox vaccine Q&A page for more information.  Pierce County is working with Washington State Department of Health to develop their vaccine strategy. Visit the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department monkeypox website for more information. 

As this is a newer outbreak, public health entities nationally and internationally are still learning about the behaviors that may put people at increased risk. We will continue to share information as we learn more. 

TOP 5 COVID “NEED TO KNOW”

  • Higher Education Protocols: While Governor Inslee rescinded some COVID-19 mandates, the higher education proclamation is still in effect. For details, please visit this document on safety protocols.
  • BC Vaccination Requirements: BC continues to be a fully vaccinated campus. All employees and students are required to follow the College’s guidance on vaccination attestations, proof of vaccinations, and exemptions.
  • Back to School Vaccine Mandate for K-12: On or before the first day of instruction, all K-12 students in Washington state must be up to date on vaccinations required for school, whether attending classes in-person or remotely. King County children through age 18 can get all vaccines required for K-12 school entry, as well as COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, at upcoming free clinics in Seattle, Federal Way, Renton, and Auburn. For more information: visit the King County Public Health site.
  • Masks: BC strongly recommends that masks continue to be worn in all high-risk situations – including indoor settings and outdoor events involving multiple parties.  
  • UW Testing: COVID testing is available the BC campus from 9-5:30 p.m. Appointments are suggested. For additional information, call 833-562-1212.

KING COUNTY COVID DASHBOARD

View the most recent data for King County across a number of convenient graphs and charts.  Data is updated every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and reflect laboratory results reported to the Washington State Department of Health as of midnight the day before.

HELPFUL COVID REMINDERS

  • Vaccinations: There are plenty of options for vaccinations – and they are free!
  • WA State COVID-19 Assistance hotline: 1-800-525-0127 or 1-888-856-5816 (then press #), 6 a.m.–10 p.m. (Monday), 6 a.m.–6 p.m. (Tuesday – Sunday)
  • King County COVID-19 Call Center: 206-477-3977, 8 a.m.–7 p.m.
  • Boosters: Experts agree – everyone over 5 years of age should get a booster. If you are eligible, please don’t wait. For more information, please visit the Public Health website for Seattle and King County.
  • Tests: Need an at-home COVID test? Washington residents can request up to 10 tests a month. Order yours now. Already ordered? Check your mobile text updates at the number provided or call 1-800-525-0127.
  • Case Reporting: Students, staff, and faculty who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, have COVID-19 symptoms, or have tested positive, should:
  • Complete the COVID-19 Report Form. This helps BC conduct contact tracing and provide support for both students and employees.
  • Remember: Do not come to campus. Students should notify their instructor, while employees should notify their supervisor and wait for HR to contact them.

STAYING HEALTHY DURING THE COVID PANDEMIC

  • Traveling: Follow these guidelines to ensure your safety.
    • Use high quality, well-fitting masks (N95, KN95, and KF94) in indoor public settings and group gatherings.
    • Make sure you are up-to-date on all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses including booster doses.
    • Test before gathering with high-risk people just before air travel.
    • Check on ventilation where you are going. Open windows and doors. Outdoors is safer than indoors.
  • Testing: It is extremely important to get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms or you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Testing allows you to take care of your own health and to prevent spreading the infection to others. Free COVID-19 testing is available at BC. It is open to everyone regardless of immigration or insurance status. Register for an appointment online. Other free COVID-19 testing locations are listed on the Public Health – Seattle & King County websites.
  • Caring for Yourself and Others: Wonder what you should do if you get COVID? Follow this guidance if you or someone in your household has symptoms of COVID-19.

SUPPORT

  • The UWKC Benefits Hub at Bellevue College, located in the U building, can help eligible students:
  • Access funds, navigate emergency housing, and receive other support like rent assistance for back rent and funds for move-in costs.
  • Sign up for utility assistance, apply for healthcare, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
  • There are many free food resources available for King County residents, with some offering delivery options. Learn more on the King County emergency food access website, or call 211.
  • The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’smental health, and resources are available to help.
  • Students can contact the Counseling Center online or call 425-564-5747 to schedule an appointment.
  • Employees can access free and confidential counseling and resources through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 877-313-4455.
  • Public Health – Seattle & King County also has an extensive list of resources on their website if you need to talk to someone right away, get help finding a counselor, or connect to the Community Health Access Program (CHAP).

COVID-19 NEWS

OFFICIAL STATE INFORMATION SOURCES

New information and follow-up guidance about COVID-19 is continually evolving. Here are some additional websites to help you stay informed:

The Flu Team and President’s Cabinet will continue to monitor local, state, and national health guidance as it determines the path forward for the college.

BC continues to follow the best practices outlined by the CDC and state health officials. As a reminder, the best way to ensure your health and that of others is to practice good hygiene including covering coughs and sneezes, washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, and staying home if you are feeling sick. BC strongly recommends wearing a mask while indoors, especially in large groups.

bellevuecollege.edu/covid19

Bellevue College

3000 Landerholm Circle SE | Bellevue, WA | 98007 | (425) 564-1000


The situation in King County continues to evolve, so please check their website often for updates. Bellevue College is following federal, state and local guidance and will continue to keep the campus community up-to-date.

You can also stay informed by visiting the Washington State Department of Health website, and by subscribing to the Public Health Insider blog. The Washington State Dept. of Health also established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington state, how the virus is spread, or what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.