We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 updates in Kansas and Missouri as we approach the KHIMA & MoHIMA Joint Annual Meeting. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has deemed the immediate health risk to be low at this time for the general American public who are unlikely to be exposed to COVID-19.
While the Arnold Classic (which draws 250,000+ people here in Columbus) was changed from its usual format and the global HIMSS conference was canceled in Florida, the reason for those decisions was because of the very large international presence at those events and there were concerns about people coming from other countries where they might have been exposed to the virus. The KHIMA and MoHIMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show does not have any international presence. The vast majority of our attendees are from Kansas and Missouri and do not have to fly to attend our conference. Further, there are currently no travel advisories or restrictions within the United States; experts have only advised against traveling overseas to certain countries such as China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, and Japan.
At this time, the KHIMA and MoHIMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show is moving forward as planned. However, there may be some changes to the agenda and we will keep the meeting attendees and the membership in both states informed as the situation progresses.
We will, of course, take all the precautions recommended by health experts to prevent the spread of this virus. Our plans include:
- A “handshake-free” meeting.
- If available, hand sanitation sites will be available in public areas, providing alcohol-based hand sanitizer for all attendees and staff. Feel free to bring your own hand sanitizer too.
- If available, disposable, disinfectant wipes will be provided so commonly used surfaces can be routinely wiped down by staff.
As of today, COVID-19 infections are not widespread; however, it is a good time to remember some common-sense precautions. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:
- Stay informed about COVID-19. Check the CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Information prior to departure.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60-95% alcohol.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or using your upper sleeve, not your hands. Dispose of tissues promptly.
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Stay home if you are unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance.
- Follow the directions of your local health authorities. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.
- Keep your work environment clean, using basic cleaning and disinfecting products. Viruses and bacteria can live on surfaces for a number of days and depends on the nature of the organism and its environment. Temperature, humidity, and the type of surface are the most important factors that affect how long they survive. To be safe, cleaning work surfaces will help prevent infections.