CIE Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Concern

Hello, SLO HotHouse and HotHouse Annex members,

Our first and most important priorities are the well-being and safety of our Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship SLO HotHouse and HotHouse Annex coworking members and incubator companies. We want to share facts, safety and health tips to help decrease any feelings of anxiety or panic that our members may be experiencing because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Although some of this information may already be known, we believe over communication at this time is probably not a bad thing.

While currently, there are no known cases in San Luis Obispo County, according to the County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department, and the risk to residents in San Luis Obispo County remains low, we want to assure all of you that the CIE is planning and working closely with Cal Poly, the County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department and state and federal health authorities because of the safety, health and wellbeing of all members and visitors is a primary commitment for us.

Symptoms of reported COVID-19 cases are similar to flu, including fever, coughing and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. The vast majority of cases have presented as mild illnesses. Symptoms may appear as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. At the same time, flu continues to circulate in our community.

Prevention is key. Whether it’s a coronavirus, flu, or a cold, handwashing with soap and water continues to be the best way to protect against the virus.


What is the CIE doing to prevent the spread of infection?

Since prevention and handwashing is key to prevent the spread of viruses including COVID-19, signage about proper hand-washing techniques are or are being posted in every restroom in the SLO HotHouse and inside the HotHouse Annex. Custodians have modified their work practices so the first thing they do when servicing a space or a restroom is to sanitize common-touch surfaces with higher strength cleaners: doorknobs, paper towel dispensers, toilet paper dispensers and faucets.

Our CIE team is working to acquire a more significant stock of hand sanitizer to have available to members. The team is also making sure we have adequate stock of custodial products to meet increased demand and will also replace all reusable utensils, plates and cups with one-time use products that can be thrown away.

What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? 

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Coronavirus is a type of virus that causes diseases ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory disease. It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The CDC reports that patients with this novel coronavirus have mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. Severe illness is more common in people with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems, as well as older adults.

How do I protect myself from coronavirus?
The best way to protect yourself against coronavirus is to wash your hands frequently especially before eating; cover your coughs and sneezes; and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. In addition:

Treat yourself well:

• Eat healthily.
• Maintain good sleep habits.
• Manage stress.
• Drink plenty of fluids.

Make it hard for viruses to spread:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; or cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
• Influenza is still present in our community. Please check with your healthcare provider whether obtaining the influenza vaccine is advisable for you.

Think of yourself and others:

• Please contact your personal medical provider immediately if you are not feeling well
• Work from home and reduce contact with others until your symptoms subside.

Is there a vaccine for coronavirus? Does the flu shot help prevent it?

There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often. (Source: )

Who is most at risk of getting sick?

People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, emphysema, diabetes, or heart disease among other conditions) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. (Source:

Should I wear a mask?

A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from being exposed to the virus. CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. The use of facemasks is recommended for health workers and those caring for someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings, e.g., at home or in a health care facility. (Source:

Where can I get more information?
For more information on coronavirus, please visit the following websites:

Is there a CIE HotHouse ban on travel?
CIE and Cal Poly are following recommended guidelines from the County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department to minimize our community’s exposure risk. The county has advised that travelers refrain from returning to the SLO HotHouse or the HotHouse Annex for 14 days after leaving the following affected countries: China, South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran. In addition, we strongly advise against travel to these areas to minimize the risk of exposure.

What should CIE HotHouse members do if they return from an affected area?

CIE is asking our incubator companies and community members to delay their return to the SLO HotHouse and the HotHouse Annex for 14 days if they have traveled to the following countries: China, South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran. In addition, we strongly advise against travel to these areas to minimize the risk of exposure and/or disruption of course work.

What should we do about attending events and large gatherings?

Governor Gavin Newsom announced last night that California public health officials have issued an updated policy on gatherings to protect public health and slow the spread of COVID-19. The state’s public health experts have determined that gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state until at least the end of March. Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people, while also following social distancing guidelines.

We know this is a very challenging time for everyone, but we are committed to getting through this situation together. If you should have any additional questions regarding COVID-19, please contact Candice Conti, CIE Marketing and Communications Director, at

With warm regards,
The CIE Team