Parts of the Coronavirus

CORONAVIRUS

EMPLOYEE RESOURCE CENTER

Updated 4.1.2020

Pennington Biomedical is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak in order to maintain the safety, health and well-being of our faculty and staff. As the global spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus, or coronavirus, continues to generate public concern, headlines and speculation, we will be updating this site with news and resources tailored for our faculty and staff. Please note that many external links are being updated daily, if not more frequently. We encourage you to bookmark this page and others mentioned below and monitor for updates. Administration at Pennington Biomedical will also send emails to all staff when important updates are made.

The most up-to-date Louisiana coronavirus statistics: Louisiana Department of Health’s interactive map

Latest News and Updates

Gov. Edwards' COVID-19 Major Disaster Declaration Request Approved by President Trump

March 26, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday signed a proclamation outlining additional measures for COVID-19 response in Louisiana, including provisions related to first responders, law enforcement and granting emergency authority to the insurance commissioner, among other things. 

Click here to read the proclamation.

The Governor issued a declaration of a Public Health Emergency in Louisiana due to the coronavirus. Since this time, 2,305 cases have been confirmed in Louisiana and 83 people have died.

OTHER ORDERS FROM THE GOVERNOR:

Gov. Edwards has issued a number of orders designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana and flatten the curve. They are:

March 11: Original declaration of Public Health Emergency, restrictions

March 13: Transportation, health care, administrative

March 14: Restrictions on establishments, closures, legal deadlines

March 19:Education, health care, administrative

March 22: Stay at Home order

In addition, Gov. Edwards issued a proclamation on March 13 moving Louisiana’s elections, which can be found here.

Additional News:

COVID-19 Research:

Hours of Operation and Work Schedules:

In this difficult time, our Center has substantially scaled back operations and we have temporarily stopped enrolling new participants in our research studies. All pre-clinical and bench research has been reduced to essential experiments only. Research visits for intervention trials have been reduced to end of study visits only and where possible, visits are being conducted virtually. We have adopted stringent health and safety screenings and have maintained essential staff only, as we strive to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our region.

Governor Edwards indicated he will be extending the stay-at-home order for the entire State through April 30th. COVID-19 is a serious and severe problem that requires everyone to work together to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease. The Pennington Biomedical community is strong and resourceful. We will do our part to comply with the state order. Physical distance, increase hand washing, and limit outdoor activities to the necessities of grocery shopping and daily exercise. If you are disciplined and responsible, we will prevail.

Employees who are performing critical functions should continue to follow their approved work plan, screening protocol and temperature checks.

All other employees, faculty and staff, must work from home. Do not go into the Center unless you have been approved to do so.

All classified employees and hourly employees must still log in to Workday to submit time in order to be paid. Supervisors of these employees must approve time for classified and hourly employees through Workday.

These measures will be in effect until April 30, 2020; however, the situation will be re-evaluated seven days prior. Further questions can be directed to the human resources department at hrm@pbrc.edu or 225-763-2776.

We are working with investigators and staff to maintain important functions, minimize disruption of studies, and complete critical experiments. For example, we have confirmed that 230 liters of liquid nitrogen will continue to be delivered to the Center every Wednesday, a sufficient amount to keep all storage dewars topped up with liquid nitrogen so no samples are lost. If you are concerned about a potential issue with an essential supply, please inform your supervisor or Ricky Caro in the Stores Department. All questions and concerns are welcome as we continue to successfully maintain critical business functions.

Thank you for your flexibility and continued cooperation during these rapidly changing and uncertain times.

Using the PBRC Remote Desktop Environment:

In order to facilitate the ability of employees to work remotely, Computing Services has made adjustments to scale our server hardware to meet the growing needs of remote workers. We have also created a resource page with information about setting up your remote workspace, using remote resources, and connecting and collaborating effectively. The page can be found at www.pbrc.edu/coronavirus/remote.

Please remember that PBRC’s Remote Desktop Environment (remote.pbrc.edu) is a limited resource and should be used only if accessing services which are only available onsite at PBRC. Once you’ve completed your work within remote, make sure to click the orange log off icon on your desktop, doing so will free up resources allowing others to connect.

If you have any technical issues or questions please contact the PBRC Help Desk at helpdesk@pbrc.edu or 225-763-2586.

Preventing the Spread of COVID-19:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a comprehensive list of COVID-19 preventative behaviors we encourage you to review. A vaccine is not currently available for COVID-19 and everyday prevention measures are the most important steps we can take to safeguard everyone’s health.

We are asking you to make practicing appropriate hand hygiene a priority by:

  • Washing your hands thoroughly with soap* and water at frequent intervals throughout the day
WHO How to wash hands

(*For the eye-opening science behind how and why everyday soap works so well against SARS-Co2, check @pallithoradarson, supramolecular chemistry expert on Twitter).

Additional Recommended Steps You Can Take:

  • Covering your coughs
  • Limiting close contact with others
  • Disinfecting shared common objects
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Avoid touching other people or attending unnecessary social interactions and travel
  • Staying home if you suspect you are sick

Additional Preventive Steps Pennington Biomedical Is Taking:

Pennington Biomedical has also added seventeen (17) touchless hand sanitizers throughout the Center that are wall-mounted in immediate proximity to many elevators on campus. Dispensers are filled with a gel that is at least 70% alcohol, as recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control.

  • Twenty (20) additional freestanding hand sanitizing stations have been ordered and will be placed across campus as soon as they are delivered.

Custodial services support staff are cleaning all bathrooms in the Center every night of the week. They have also increased their frequency of cleaning commonly touched surfaces such as stairwell bannisters.

  • If you notice any issues with bathroom cleanliness, or soap dispensers not being filled, please email or call the Facilities department so we can monitor our support services staff procedures.

We strongly discourage any non-essential meetings or events of 25 people or more.

Links to Helpful Resources:

Defending Against COVID-19 Cyber Scams
CDC Coronavirus Information
Louisiana Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline 1-855-523-2652, 8 – 4:30 M-F
World Health Organization
LSU Coronavirus Updates & Information
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
COVID-19 Reddit Map (interactive)
How Healthcare Workers Wash Their Hands
Jefferson University Hospital's Wash 'Em - Hand Hygiene Music Video
EPA List of Antimicrobial Products
Louisiana Governor’s Office Coronavirus Information

If you suspect you are ill:

Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness must stay home until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g., cough suppressants). Please notify your supervisor if you need to stay home.

Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

If a Pennington Biomedical employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, we will inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

Travel Restrictions – Key Take-Aways:

(See Full Details of Travel Restrictions Related to COVID-19 Outbreak in Section Below)

The U S State Department is advising against all International Travel until further notice. Go to Website link below for more information: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/travel-advisory-alert-global-level-4-health-advisory-issue.html

All approved Pennington Biomedical Research Center-related international travel must be re-approved through the High-Risk Travel process.

All NON-ESSENTIAL international travel is prohibited through April 30th, 2020.

  • Questions about international travel should be directed to Monica Mougeot in Fiscal Operations (monica.mougeot@pbrc.edu) and travelers should work with their coordinators and/or business managers to recoup expenses for canceled trips.
  • If you are currently abroad on Center-sponsored business and the area is elevated in status, you may be required to return to the U.S.
  • Anyone who returns or arrives at Pennington Biomedical from a location with a CDC level 3 travel warning for COVID-19 (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html), must self-isolate for 14 days and must be asymptomatic before returning to work

All Pennington Biomedical-related NON-ESSENTIAL domestic air travel is also prohibited through April 30th, 2020.

All personal international travel is strongly discouraged.

  • We strongly recommend against travel to cities and countries where the COVID-19 outbreak is spreading.
  • If you do travel to countries with a Level 3 or 4 travel advisory, you can only return to Pennington Biomedical, a university campus, facility or activity after 14 days from the date of departure from that country and if you have no symptoms.
  • You should also make every attempt to return with enough lead time to self-isolate prior to when your Center responsibilities begin.

Travel Restrictions – Full Details:

International Travel Restrictions due to COVID-19 Outbreak

The number one priority of Pennington Biomedical is the health and welfare of its faculty, postdocs, staff and students. With this in mind, we continue to work closely with local, state and federal health officials to monitor developments related to the Novel Coronavirus, known as COVID-19. After careful consideration, and with the health of our academic community top of mind, effective immediately we are restricting international travel of all personnel. Anyone traveling or planning to travel outside the United States for Center business or academic purposes, including research or grant activity, service projects, internships, conferences, presentations, teaching or training, should be aware of the restrictions outlined in this memo.

Center Sponsored and Sanctioned Travel

Pennington Biomedical employees who have previously been approved for any international travel, or who plan to travel prior to August 17, 2020, must have travel re-approved through the High-Risk Travel process. Travel to countries with Level 3 or Level 4 travel advisories will not be approved. At this point, travel to other countries will be approved, but it’s important to keep in mind the global scenario is rapidly evolving and therefore may result in a change in approval status. It’s also possible that domestic cities may introduce heightened travel advisories. All university-sponsored travel must be approved via a Spend Authorization prior to departure or the Center will not be responsible for the reimbursement of expenses. Questions about international travel should be directed to Monica Mougeot in Fiscal Operations (monica.mougeot@pbrc.edu), and travelers should work with their coordinators and/or business managers to recoup expenses for canceled trips.

If you are currently abroad on Center-sponsored business, you should be aware of the travel status in your area and any accompanying travel advisories. Should the area be elevated in status, you will be required to return to the U.S. For further travel information if this situation arises, contact Monica Mougeot (monica.mougeot@pbrc.edu). Employees who are returning from any country or region that has been designated with Level 3 or 4 travel advisories are prohibited from returning to Pennington and any and all university campuses, facilities, and activities during a 14-day period from the date of departure from that country, and not return to the Center unless they are asymptomatic for that period. As required by the Presidential Directive addendum to PM 13, employees and students must present a release to return to work from their personal physician.

If you have returned from an area where COVID-19 is spreading, you should monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days and take your temperature twice a day. If you develop even a mild cough or low-grade fever (i.e., a temperature of 100⁰ F or more), please stay home and self-isolate. This means avoiding close contact (six feet or nearer) with other people, including family members. We also advise contacting your healthcare provider or the local public health department and giving them details of your recent travel and symptoms.

Personal Travel

We strongly recommend against travel to cities and countries where the COVID-19 outbreak is spreading. If you do travel to countries with a Level 3 or 4 travel advisory, you can only return to Pennington, a university campus, facility or activity after 14 days from the date of departure from that country and if you have no symptoms. You should also make every attempt to return with enough lead time to self-isolate prior to when your Center responsibilities begin.

We are working with LSU on all policies and policy statements, and are adhering to the travel advisories enacted by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All travelers should be aware of the potential associated risks of disruptions to reentry to the United States, including delayed travel plans and possible quarantine. Check the CDC and DOS websites for the most up-to-date information about travel to other countries.

Please be sure to follow the LSU directives specified in the following documents for international travel for the foreseeable future. These are living documents that are subject to change, as this situation is fluid, so please review them often if you are traveling internationally:

We recognize the impact these measures may have on many of you, but at the same time, we are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our broader campus community. Thanks for your understanding, and we will continue to provide updates as new developments occur.