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01/04/2022 - New COVID-19 cases reported to Caltech

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To: The Campus Community

From: Jennifer Howes, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Wellness

Since our last COVID case update on December 30, Student Wellness Services (SWS) has learned that 92 members of the Caltech community have tested positive for COVID-19. They include:

  • 34 undergraduate students, 33 of whom live in Caltech housing;
  • 18 graduate students, 17 of whom live in Caltech housing; and
  • 40 employees.

The affected individuals, most of whom were away from campus when they tested positive, are now isolating. Nine of the students who tested positive were either on campus or in route to campus when they learned their result, so they are isolating in Caltech housing.

In collaboration with the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD), SWS will identify and notify anyone in the Caltech community who may have had close contact with these individuals. Anyone found to be at risk of exposure will be provided specific instructions for quarantining and isolation. Please note that due to the sheer volume of case reports, individualized responses to questions and the community positive case updates may be significantly delayed. Furthermore, SWS's capacity for on-campus testing is not sufficient to meet current demand so members of the community are being advised to seek community testing resources whenever possible.

Do not come to campus if you are ill. Please review the isolation and quarantine procedures if you test positive or learn you are a close contact of someone through activities off campus.

This brings the total number of reported COVID-19 cases among members of the Caltech campus community and off-campus facilities to 429 since March 2020.

The Institute's vaccination policies require that all employees and students who are eligible for a booster shot get boosted as soon as they are able to do so. In addition, all undergraduate students—regardless of vaccination status and living location—and graduate students living in Caltech housing or enrolled in in-person classes for the Winter Term, as well as all individuals in the campus community who have an approved exemption to the Institute's vaccination requirement, are required to participate in the twice-weekly surveillance testing program. For the first week of the term, an expanded surveillance testing program that requires student to submit three samples, each 48 hours apart, is also in place.

Faculty members and other instructors who are involved in in-person winter-term instruction should register for surveillance testing during the week of January 3, and begin submitting samples twice weekly no later than January 11. Earlier submission of samples is encouraged. All employees who are reporting on-site are strongly encouraged to enroll and participate in the surveillance testing program as well.

The Institute's self-collection surveillance testing program is facilitated through an on-site laboratory located in the Beckman Institute.

It is imperative that all members of our community remain diligent in adhering to all preventative measures and to county and city health orders that have been implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The safety and well-being of Caltech's students, staff, and faculty is our top priority. All members of the Caltech community are expected to:

  • Immediately notify SWS if you are ill, have had a positive test for COVID-19, or have been exposed to anyone with a positive test for COVID-19.
  • Stay home if you are ill, have a fever, or have otherwise been instructed to quarantine or isolate.
  • Participate in Caltech's surveillance testing program
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol
  • Wear a high-quality (N95 or KN95) mask when indoors.

More information about Caltech's response to the pandemic can be found on the Caltech Together coronavirus website. Reports of illness, testing metrics, and confirmed case counts can be found on a dedicated dashboard. Please note that JPL tracks COVID-19 cases separately and is not included in these data.