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Colleges cancel classes, city cancels events and programs

by Matthew Bramlett | news@claremont-courier.com

The global coronavirus pandemic is affecting life in Claremont as well.

As the number of confirmed cases rise, residents are flocking to local grocery stores, stocking up on hand sanitizer and toilet paper and leaving shelves bare in the event the need to quarantine arises.

Need advice on how to protect yourself? Check this story out.

As of Tuesday afternoon, all meetings and classes throughout the city are moving forward as scheduled, according to Claremont city spokesperson Bevin Handel. However, she added this is a fluid situation that may change by the day or by the hour if there is a confirmed case in Claremont or nearby.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and are prepared to respond should the situation change,” Ms. Handel wrote in an email. “We are following the protocols set by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the LA County Department of Health.”

The city is also providing additional education to employees on how to keep themselves safe, including proper hand washing, using sanitizer, keeping sick employees at home, and additional cleaning of public areas and surfaces. Police officers have received additional guidelines from the CDC as well, Ms. Handel said.

Claremonters who may be worried about coming into city hall or attending city council or commission meetings can watch the meetings online at the city website, Ms. Handel said.

As of Tuesday, there have been 20 reported cases of coronavirus in Los Angeles County, according to the Los Angeles Times.

According to the World Health Organization, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually, the WHO reports. Some people become infected but never develop any symptoms and never feel sick at all. Most people (about 80 percent) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.

The main way the disease spreads is through respiratory droplets expelled by someone who is coughing. The risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms at all is very low. However, many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms. This is particularly true at the early stages of the disease. It is therefore possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has, for example, just a mild cough and does not feel ill.  The World Health Organization is assessing ongoing research on the period of transmission of COVID-19 and will continue to share updated findings.  

Around one out of every six people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

Pomona College announced Monday that it will cancel all public events starting from March 10 through April 18 in an effort to reduce the potential spread of the virus, according to a statement from the college.

The precautionary measure affects public events of any size, the college said. The college’s alumni weekend will be shifting to an online-only format for the first time on April 30, according to a letter from Pomona College President G. Gabrielle Starr.

“We invite all alumni to join as one Sagehen community during this Virtual Alumni Weekend experience. Program and registration details for this experience will be released shortly,” Ms. Starr wrote. “All voluntary contributions made in celebration of Alumni Weekend 2020 will benefit Pomona’s newly created Coronavirus Emergency Fund.”

There haven’t been any reported cases of the coronavirus at the Claremont Colleges so far, Pomona College spokesperson Patricia Vest said.

One of the events canceled because of coronavirus precautions is the Claremont Young Musicians Orchestra, which was scheduled to perform at Pomona College this Saturday.

Scripps College is also taking precautionary measures, announcing Tuesday that all “non-essential” events will be canceled until further notice. This includes the remainder of the Scripps Presents season.

“We will notify ticket holders when and if these programs are rescheduled,” Scripps Presents said in a statement. “Meanwhile, we apologize for any inconvenience and disappointment these cancellations may cause.”

The COURIER will have more on this as it becomes available.

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