Coronavirus Statement from TOPS President Rick Danforth
(March 16, 2020) Because the health and safety of our members is of utmost concern, effective immediately, all TOPS chapter meetings and KOPS Society meetings are canceled through Sunday, April 12. We will be monitoring the situation closely in the coming weeks and are prepared to extend the meeting ban if circumstances warrant.
For those of you with upcoming State, Provincial and Area Recognition Days, your Coordinator will be reaching out to you in the coming weeks with updates. At this time, we are not issuing a blanket cancellation for all events since many are 8-16 weeks out, and some are already in the process of being rescheduled as facility availability allows. Leaders will be informed of any changes as soon as details are finalized in your area. A list of rescheduled events appears on this page.
Open Letter from TOPS President Rick Danforth
(March 12, 2020) As many of you may know, I worked 40 years in a laboratory, the last 20 in public health. I am certified as a Specialist in Microbiology by the American Society for Clinical Pathology. In my career, I collaborated with health officials across the United States and trained at the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I have experience in dealing with the anthrax scare, H1N1, SARS, MERS and Ebola. Since I became TOPS President two years ago, my idea of relaxing is reading and staying current with the ongoing changes in emerging infectious diseases.
I am sure that I am not the only one in TOPS with experience in public health. Many of our members work in the health field. They will agree with me that, during any health scare, it is very important to stay calm, listen to the facts, and not get caught up in media hype. My experience is that misinformation, fear and panic spread faster than any infectious disease outbreak I’ve seen.
The numbers of people around the world infected with Coronavirus are constantly changing. As with all novel viruses, none of us are readily immune. Viruses are easily spread, and cases are expected throughout this year and possibly into 2021. The one important statistic to watch is what is currently happening in your specific area. I encourage you to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US or Public Health Canada, or your local health department websites for true, accurate and current information.
It’s important to know that people over 80 years old who have severe underlying health conditions are at high risk and will have a difficult time fighting off this disease.
What can we do to protect ourselves and others?
- If you are ill, stay home and call your healthcare provider.
- If you have recently traveled from a high impact area, please limit your time in public places.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Honor personal space by keeping several feet distance between you and others.
- Refrain from hugging and shaking hands.
- Avoid touching “high touch” areas such as door knobs, sink taps, light switches, tabletops, pens and pencils, etc.
- Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your nose and mouth.
If you have any medical issues, please get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and take your medication. Eat healthy and exercise.
We all must take personal responsibility in containing the spread of Coronavirus as we have done each year with other viruses. This advice does not just apply to today’s situation; it should apply during every flu season. Think about what you would do if you found out that if one of your family members had chicken pox, whooping cough, or seasonal flu. You would all take precautions not to spread the disease to others. The same applies to the current situation.
I again encourage you to get updates only from your local health department or the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov. Canadian members are encouraged to visit Public Health Canada.