University Response to COVID-19

October 26, 2020

October 26, 2020
Health Care Center, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
Yasuhiro Yamauchi, MD, PhD.

(1) Two days prior to onset

  COVID-19 is thought to mainly spread through droplet and contact transmission. Depending on the circumstances, aerosol transmission has also been suggested as a possible route of infection. The transmission of COVID-19 is characterized by the fact that there is a higher risk of infection when large numbers of people gather in an enclosed space (at a close distance) and when in close proximity to others who are talking. Infection prevention measures are crucial in such circumstances.

  Furthermore, it has been reported that COVID-19 is highly contagious from two days before to immediately after the onset of symptoms; in other words, even those who show no symptoms can be a source of infection.

  The University's infection control measures are based on the above and are carried out in consultation with the Tama Fuchu public health center.

(2) Response to COVID-19 positive case confirmed on October 21

  After the identification of the infected student (with a positive antigen test) on October 21, we immediately collected information on the patient's health condition and activity history from two days prior to the onset of symptoms, and determined those who had contact with the patient. Based on this information, we contacted the public health center and cooperated in the identification of "persons in close contact". In addition, even among those who were not identified as close contacts based on the judgment of the health center, the university was careful to solidify the list of contacts based on the activity history of the infected student.

  Countermeasures against the further spread of infection were promoted in accordance with the instructions of medical institutions and health centers. In addition, students and staff members who were identified as "contacts" were instructed to stay home for two weeks from the date of exposure, and were monitored for their physical condition and progress. Should symptoms develop during the follow-up period, we are consulting with the health center about the need for additional measures.

  Two days of the quarantine period for those mentioned above have passed, hence even if symptoms were to arise in the coming days, we do not expect any further exposure of the virus on campus.

  In addition, the facilities that were used by persons infected were thoroughly disinfected and banned from use until a sufficient amount of time had elapsed since their last use by those currently in quarantine.

  As described above, we are taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus, by making sure to acknowledge all persons, including those who are asymptomatic, that could have been in contact with the patients, and by taking measures to prohibit the use of on-campus facilities.

(3) Our request to you all

  To control the spread of COVID-19, it is important to (1) eliminate the source of infection, (2) eliminate the routes of infection, and (3) reduce the risk of group infection.

  In order to eradicate the source of infection, it is crucial that individuals who have developed symptoms such as a fever do not come to campus. Please make sure to take your temperature every morning and stay at home if you have a fever. In addition, if a family member or friend with whom you have been in contact develops symptoms, you are also at risk of infection during the incubation period (1〜14 days, median 5〜6 days). Even if they have no other symptoms, please refrain from coming to school and participating in any extracurricular activities.

  To eliminate the routes of infection, please make sure to wear a mask in class and during activities on campus. Masks are important not only to protect yourself from becoming infected, but also to prevent asymptomatic people from infecting others. Of course, washing your hands and sanitizing is also encouraged. Mouth and face shields alone may be problematic in reducing the risk of infection to others.

  To reduce the risk of group infection, the Three Cs (crowded places, close-contact settings, confined and enclosed spaces) should be avoided at all times. As such, actively and frequently ventilating classrooms and activity areas, wearing a mask when talking, and keeping a physical distance of two meters are all measures we must be aware of.

  However, as there are cases in which those infected are asymptomatic, it is difficult to completely contain the virus with the measures described above. Each one of us must always be aware of the risk of infection (both from and to others), and actively take part in infection control measures to protect not only ourselves but also the people around us, so that we can sustain a healthy university life.

  We also recommend the use of COCOA, a contact confirmation app for COVID-19 infections.