One undergraduate, two more staff members test positive for COVID-19| March 18, 2020
Two more University staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, with at least two staff members and two students awaiting results for pending tests.
As of today’s announcement, University Health Services (UHS) has tested three students. The first student, who was tested in McCosh Health Center, had results come back negative yesterday. One of the students awaiting results is “currently self-isolating on campus at a UHS designated site,” while the other is “self-isolating at home.”
At least one undergraduate student has tested positive for COVID-19 since leaving the University. According to a message from the student obtained by The Daily Princetonian, the individual received a preemptive test Sunday morning and began showing symptoms on Monday. This student was not tested by UHS and was not mentioned in the University announcement.
“UHS is aware of one student testing positive after leaving campus,” University spokesperson Ben Chang told the ‘Prince.’
It is unclear whether UHS and the ‘Prince’ are aware of the same positive test.
“Due to privacy concerns, we cannot speak to the specifics of any one case,” Chang added. “That said, we will continue to support the contact tracing efforts, as determined by CDC guidance, of local health authorities in jurisdictions where a member of the Princeton community may exhibit symptoms or test positive.”
The University announcement included a request that students, faculty, and staff notify UHS immediately if tested for COVID-19 by any health care provider. According to Chang, the University is not currently aware of any students who had COVID-consistent symptoms while on campus but is encouraging “any students, staff, or faculty who are tested anywhere to contact UHS immediately so we can take any action necessary.”
“This includes students who recently left campus and have returned home,” the announcement continued. “This process will allow UHS to conduct additional contact tracing and determine if there was any potential exposure to other members of our community so that they can take appropriate next steps to mitigate further spread of the virus.”
Thus far, UHS is aware of eight total staff members who have been tested for COVID-19, five of whom have tested positive. One of the other three tests came back negative on Sunday, and the two remaining are still awaiting pending test results.
“Not all of these staff members reside in Princeton,” the University announcement noted, “and, though we cannot share further details because of privacy concerns, we can share that they have been working with their home jurisdictions and following public health guidelines.”
The request for individuals to notify UHS of test results no matter where the test takes place applies to staff and faculty as well.
“Princeton University students, staff, and faculty live across a number of jurisdictions, and it is important for us to know if you have been tested regardless of where you are currently residing,” the announcement also read. “Knowing who from our University community has received a test is crucial.”
The town of Princeton has four positive laboratory confirmed coronavirus cases and four pending tests awaiting results, according to a Health Update from Princeton Health Officer Jeffrey Grosser. Seven tests have come back negative, this update notes.
“Please remember that the number of confirmed cases will continue to rise exponentially as more people get tested and gain access to testing throughout our region,” Grosser’s update notes. “This is expected and is not an indicator that social distancing does not work.”
Additionally, six non-symptomatic individuals in town are currently under investigation due to travel or close contact with confirmed cases, and three individuals are currently “isolated due to being symptomatic and did not receive testing.” Twenty individuals living in Princeton who were under investigation at some point have been cleared from quarantine or monitoring, Grosser’s update notes.
The press release sent to the ‘Prince’ also contained a message from Princeton Police Chief Nicholas Sutter, instructing people in town not to call 911 to report large gatherings.
“Please help us spread the word that reporting gatherings of 50 or more persons and other such Covid-19 curfew and social distancing infractions, does not require use of the 911 emergency system,” the message from Sutter read. “Please call the seven digit non-emergency police department phone line at 609-921-2100 for rules violations.”
This story is breaking and will be updated as more information becomes available.
Editor’s Note: Due to legitimate privacy and safety concerns, the ‘Prince’ has omitted any names of staff members and students tested for COVID-19 of which we are aware.