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Summary for first COVD-19 case on campus

Posted by:
July 7, 2020

Posted on the Coronavirus Update site on July 7, 2020.

Dear PLU Community,

We are writing today to share that late last week, we learned that one of our residential students had developed mild COVID-19 symptoms and subsequently tested positive for the virus. The student took the initiative to self-isolate after they were tested, and had very limited contact with others in their residence hall or on campus; and has not been enrolled in summer courses. Within 24 hours of receiving their positive test result, the student moved off-campus for isolation and recovery. They are currently doing well, and already appear to be recovering from mild symptoms.

We are required to honor the Washington State law that protects this individual’s confidential information and privacy, and as a result we will not release their name. We wish our Lute family member a speedy and uncomplicated recovery.

The Tacoma–Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) was informed immediately, and managed contact tracing and notification of close contacts of the student. A friend of the student also proactively went to get tested, and is currently self-quarantining and awaiting their test results. Other residents and staff in the student’s wing and in the building were notified to continue to take precautions, and told that if they did not hear from public health that they were not considered to be at risk, but should still practice preventative measures, and self-monitor for symptoms. Students were also informed that if they chose to be tested prior to any further communication, they could access testing services over the holiday weekend at the Walgreens on Pearl Street, the Community Health Clinic on Pacific, or the MultiCare Clinic.

As we proceed through the summer and into the fall, the best way for us to keep our PLU community healthy is to fully participate in preventative practices together. These practices include wearing face coverings indoors (and outdoors when physical distancing isn’t possible), physical distancing, frequent hand washing, disinfecting of surfaces, and self-quarantining in case of exposure. Self-monitoring for symptoms, participating in daily attestations, and communicating concerns about symptoms are also important precautions. Should any concerns or questions arise, students should call the Health Center during our summer open hours (T—Th, 9—4), utilize LuteTeleHealth when away from campus or when the Health Center is closed, and, in case of testing positive for COVID-19 after hours, contact Campus Safety for support. (In that case, Campus Safety will notify one of the Health Center providers, who will get in touch with you.) Employees should communicate with their healthcare providers for guidance, and notify PLU Human Resources about suspected or positive cases. The Washington Department of Health also ha detailed information about what to do if you suspect or have confirmed that you have COVID-19,might have been exposed, or are showing symptoms of the virus but haven’t been around a positive case.

The PLU Health Center’s well-established partnership with TPCHD has been strengthened over the past several months. They were invaluable in assisting with the management of this case through immediate contact tracing, with arranging transportation, medical evaluation, and safe self-isolation housing off-campus for our student, and have their assurance that they will continue to assist us in any way they can. The PLU COVID-19 webpage will also be kept updated with counts of all new confirmed cases at PLU, as well as general information about cases, for community members who are interested.

Everyone is eager to return to campus, to meet old friends and make new ones, to learn what a COVID-19 college experience will feel like, all the while continuing the public health precautions we have been learning to live with over the past several months. The coronavirus is unpredictable, stealthy and serious. This means that we need to be conscientious about staying as healthy as possible, keeping up consideration for the health and safety of one another – especially those more vulnerable to COVID-19 – and developing the daily practice of care that’s inherent in the PLU mission.

We are all responsible for maintaining our personal health, keeping up consideration for the health and safety of one another—especially those more vulnerable to COVID-19—and developing the daily practice of care that’s inherent in the PLU mission.

Stay informed, and stay safe!

In community,

Joanna Royce-Davis
Vice President for Student Life

Elizabeth Hopper
Director of Health Services