The Contra Costa Community College District has set in place an emergency preparedness plan in case of the event that the rapidly developing Coronavirus affects anyone within the area.
While there have only been 12 proven cases of Coronavirus in the United States as of Feb. 6, and six cases in California, the district has recognized the severity of the situation and has begun to develop a plan of action in case anything does occur.
“What we have is an emergency operations plan. An emergency operations plan is district-wide and it informs us of what to do globally in an emergency. And one of those emergencies are health emergencies; contagious disease emergencies. So we have our plan set in place, if it becomes greater,” explained Ed Carney, Chief of District Police.
While there is an emergency plan set in place, the chances of infection in our college community are extremely unlikely. The media’s focus on the spread of the virus and the lives it has taken make the Coronavirus seem more imminent than it actually is.
“If we were to look at this from a logical standpoint, we certainly have far more important things to be concerned about when it comes to safety and precautions,” said Carney. “Out of this anxiety of the virus comes this fear, fear of strangers; fear of other people. And right now, sadly, it’s going to focus on the Asian community. From fear comes bias, from bias comes this outward aggressiveness or hostility to a group of people who don’t deserve it.”
In an effort to prevent unconscious bias toward members of the Asian community, the district police department is working to send out text message and email updates on the Coronavirus as often as possible. The department hopes that open communication on the subject will mitigate unconscious biases toward students and staff from the Asian community, and create a sense of community within each college.
“Other people use it as an excuse to be racist and it’s not a race thing. China is doing their best to deal with the situation. People act like it’s exclusive to Asians but don’t think about the tourists who were there traveling,” said student Sam Garcia.
While the Coronavirus is on the radar of the police department, other issues of health and safety take precedence at this current point in time.
“I’m more concerned about the flu at this point, than the virus, with it having an upwards of 80,000 deaths a year in the U.S.,” said Los Medanos College Lt. Chad Wehrmeister.
As the situation develops day by day, the district and campus police intend on keeping the community informed and reassured.
For more information on the Coronavirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html