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MARCH 02, 2020 -- As the number of coronavirus cases tick upward in the United States, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) issued a statement that its annual scientific sessions, presented in conjunction this year with the World Congress of Cardiology (ACC.20/WCC), is slated to take place as scheduled.
The conference, scheduled for March 28-30 in Chicago, is one of the largest annual gatherings of cardiologists in the world.
"The health, well-being, and safety of ACC.20/WCC attendees is of the utmost priority," the organization said on its website. "We are working with attendees, faculty, exhibitors, and other stakeholders in affected countries to ensure access to research and education from the meeting. We are also working with the McCormick Place Convention Center, the city of Chicago, and others to coordinate additional health and safety measures on site in Chicago."
Earlier today, state officials announced that a fourth person has tested positive for COVID-19 in Illinois, according to the Chicago Tribune and other local news outlets.
Several scientific societies have already cancelled or postponed meetings in response to the escalation of the coronavirus, including the International Society for Stem Cell Research’s International Symposium, scheduled for March 13-15 in Shanghai, China.
The American Physical Society announced yesterday it was calling off its largest meeting of the year, just hours before it was scheduled to begin in Denver.
On Monday, the country's largest housewares trade show, set to be held next week at Chicago's McCormick Place, was also canceled.
The ACC acknowledges that the situation is dynamic and said it is closely monitoring health and safety updates from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as state and local health organizations.
The ACC said it will post meeting updates as more information becomes available, as its website continues to tell potential attendees, "It's not too late! Register today to join us in Chicago."
Last month, the ACC issued guidance on the cardiac implications of coronavirus, which appears to be particularly pernicious among older adults and those with underlying health conditions.
The ACC is also advising individuals to follow CDC recommendations for COVID-19 and notes that additional information on travel, prevention, and situational updates is available on the CDC website and WHO website.
In a separate statement issued today, ACC president Richard Kovacs, MD, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, and American College of Physicians executive vice president and CEO Darilyn V. Moyer, MD, urged policymakers to consider the role digital and telehealth services can play to mitigate community spread of COVID-19.
"Self-quarantine and social distancing are important tools in managing disease transmission, especially among patients who are acutely vulnerable to the risk of infection," Kovacs and Moyer said. "Therefore, our organizations urge steps be taken to create defined, emergency authority to expand access to telehealth services in all areas, ensuring clinicians have the necessary flexibility to continue caring for their patients remotely during this rapidly evolving public health response."