UPDATE: AAA announced on Wednesday evening, March 11, that the AAA 2020 Convention has been canceled. See updated story at: https://hearingreview.com/inside-hearing/events/the-aaa-2020-heartech-expo-officially-cancelled

The American Academy of Audiology’s (AAA) 2020 + HearTECH Expo will take place, as scheduled, April 1-4, in New Orleans, according to a March 6 post on the Academy’s website, in response to concerns surrounding the coronovirus.

The Academy states that, “We are watching closely for new developments around the Novel Coronavirus (COVID19 or 2019-nCoV) to keep the Academy community apprised of the latest updates, including any changes in our cancellation policy as a result of CDC/Federal Agency recommendations.” The organization says it will be regularly monitoring advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and other agencies, and will only cancel the event “if directed by the authorities.”

According to an update from February 28, all China-based exhibitors have had to push their participation to 2021 or send North American representatives to the 2020 show due to US travel restrictions relating to coronavirus. China-based conference attendees will not be attending this year as the US government has restricted visas and travel from areas significantly affected by COVID19.

As a preventative measure, the Academy is asking HearTECH Expo exhibitors to regularly disinfect and clean equipment used by multiple attendees and to utilize CDC’s guidance on mitigating the spread of respiratory illnesses (see below) as well as implementing a no handshaking policy at the event. These steps include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 
  • Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay in your hotel or at home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Physical measures implemented at AAA 2020: The Ernest N. Morial Center, which hosts AAA 2020, is expanding its normal flu season cleanliness protocol to include:

  • More frequent use of non-toxic disinfecting cleaning products in high-traffic areas and common touch areas and surfaces.
  • Providing an increase in hand sanitizer stations throughout the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
  • Instituting a large number of other incremental cleanliness steps, including ongoing meetings with the city of New Orleans. 
  • Read more about the Coronavirus readiness from New Orleans leaders.

The Academy recommends bookmarking this page and consulting it regularly for updates on the situation as it changes.

For more on the coronavirus as it applies to hearing healthcare, click here.

Source: AAA