COVID-19 Resource Center

COVID-19 Resource Center

March 09, 2020
2 min read

Institutions limit travel, societies rethink conferences as COVID-19 spreads

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Institutions are limiting employee travel and medical societies are canceling or postponing their annual medical conferences because of concerns about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Cleveland Clinic spokesperson Andrea Pacetti told Healio Primary Care that the facility there has suspended all “nonessential international business travel” until at least March 31 for the sake of patient and caregiver safety. She added that “domestic business-related travel is being limited to essential trips only and will require hospital leadership approval.”

Another institution, Brown University, has suspended all upcoming university-sponsored travel to international destinations, according Brian Clark, a university spokesperson.

“We have also strongly discouraged any personal travel to any country with a CDC level 2 or level 3 risk designation,” he told Healio Primary Care. “We’ve advised Brown community members to carefully consider whether other international or domestic travel plans should be adjusted or canceled. In addition, anyone returning to the U.S. after any travel to China, Iran, Italy and South Korea will be required to self-isolate in a U.S. location away from campus for at least 14 days before returning to Brown.”

Arthur Caplan, PhD, of the division of medical ethics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, told Healio Primary Care that for the foreseeable future, his employer has “understandably” prohibited business travel, discouraged personal travel to China, Italy and South Korea, and has banned on-site meetings of more than five people.

“We’re switching all of our medical ethics department activities, such as our working groups on preapproval access to drugs and transplants, to virtual activities,” he added. “Our staff knows what to do [and] our faculty knows what to do when we move to virtual meetings, so we’ll be OK.”

According to a crowd-sourced Google document, the following institutions have implemented travel restrictions for faculty and staff as a result of COVID-19 concerns:

  • Albany Medical
  • Atrium Health (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • Baylor
  • Baylor Scott & White (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • Beth Israel Lahey Health/Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center
  • Boston University/Boston Medica
  • Brown (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • Case Western (Metro)
  • Case Western (Univ)
  • Children's Wisconsin
  • Children's Mercy Kansas City
  • CHOP
  • City of Hope (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • Cleveland Clinic (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • Columbia University
  • Dana Farber (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • Dartmouth Hitchcock
  • Duke (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • Fox Chase
  • Florida State University
  • Fred Hutchinson
  • Geisinger Health System
  • Georgetown/MedStar Health
  • George Washington University (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • Hackensack University Medical Center
  • Harvard Medical School (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • Hospital for Special Surgery (verifed by Healio Primary Care)
  • Houston Methodist Hospital
  • Idaho State University
  • Indiana U
  • Intermountain Healthcare (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • Johns Hopkins
  • Kaiser Permanente (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • Lahey Clinic
  • Massachusetts General Brigham (and Partners)
  • Mayo Clinic
  • MD Anderson (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • Medical College of Wisconsin
  • MedStar Health - Washington DC (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Mercy Health System
  • Montefiore
  • Mt Sinai NYC (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • Mt Sinai Medical Center Miami
  • Nebrasksa
  • New York Presbyterian
  • Nicklaus Children's
  • Northwell
  • Northwestern University (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • NYU (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • Ochsner
  • Ohio State University (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • Oregon Health Sciences
  • Roswell Park (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • Penn
  • Penn State Health
  • Providence/St. Joseph
  • Rothman Institute
  • Rush University Medical Center (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • Seattle Children's
  • Stanford University (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • St. Joseph/Providence
  • Stanford University
  • Temple University
  • Texas A&M
  • Texas Tech University HSC - Lubbock
  • Thomas Jefferson University
  • Tufts
  • U of Florida
  • U of Alabama (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • University of Arizona (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • University of California at Los Angeles
  • University of California at San Diego
  • University of California at San Francisco (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • UCI
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Colorado Anschutz
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Illinois CoM
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Miami
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Missouri - Columbia
  • University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • UNM
  • University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • University of Rochester
  • University of Southern Florida
  • University of Texas - Austin
  • University of Texas - Houston
  • UTMB
  • University of Texas - San Antonio
  • University of Texas - Southwestern
  • University of Utah
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Washington (verified by Healio Primary Care)
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Washington University
  • Weill-Cornell
  • Yale

The concerns surrounding COVID-19 also extend to medical societies. Several have cancelled, modified or postponed their annual conferences, including:

  • American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology’s (AAAAI) annual meeting;
  • American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting;
  • American Academy of Neurology annual meeting;
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons annual meeting;
  • American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting;
  • American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus;
  • American College of Cardiology’s (ACC) Scientific Session;
  • American College of Physicians annual meeting;
  • Association for Research in Vision and Opthamology annual meeting (ARVO);
  • American Nephrology Nurses Association;
  • American Psychiatric Association;
  • Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI);
  • European Heart Rhythm Association;
  • HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition;
  • International Extreme Sports Medicine Congress;
  • HemOnc Today New York;
  • National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) annual conference;
  • National Foundation for Infectious Diseases Annual Conference on Vaccinology Research;
  • NKF Spring Clinical Meetings;
  • Renal Physicians Association annual meeting;
  • Society of Hospital Medicine;
  • Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America’s (SHEA) Decennial International Conference on Healthcare Associated Infections;
  • The Endocrine Society (ENDO) annual meeting; and
  • The International Society of Nephrology annual meeting.

Although the AAAAI conference was scheduled to start in Philadelphia later this week, organizers changed their mind over the weekend.

“AAAAI leadership felt that even the precautions being taken to ensure the health and safety of attendees would not be enough and the best decision was to cancel the 2020 AAAAI Annual Meeting,” the Academy said in a statement, echoing a sentiment similar to the other societies.

Healio Primary Care will continue to update this article throughout the next few days. – by Janel Miller with assistance by Kate Burba and Erin T. Welsh

Disclosures: Healio Primary Care could not confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.