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1/7/2021 - New COVID-19 cases reported to Caltech

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From: Jennifer Howes, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Wellness
Re: New COVID-19 case reported to Caltech

In the last 24 hours, Student Wellness Services (SWS) has learned that 10 members of the Caltech community have tested positive for COVID-19. 

  • Eight individuals were identified through campus-based surveillance testing on January 5:
    • Three staff members who last accessed campus on January 6*;
    • A graduate student living in off-campus, non-Caltech housing who last accessed campus on January 6*;
    • A graduate student living in off-campus, non-Caltech housing who last accessed campus on November 18;
    • A staff member who last accessed campus on December 21;
    • A staff member who last accessed campus on December 29;
    • And a staff member at the Children's Center at Caltech who last accessed campus on January 5.
  • Two staff members reported positive test results through community testing via the COVID-19 Reporting Application:
    • One tested positive on December 29, and last accessed campus on December 21; 
    • One tested positive on January 5, and last accessed campus December 16.

*Please note that results from surveillance tests taken on January 5 became available late in the evening of January 6. Currently, tests given to asymptomatic individuals through surveillance testing take about 36 hours to process. Individuals who participate in surveillance testing have been instructed to continue with their normally scheduled activities and responsibilities as they await test results. Once notified of a positive test result, they are then instructed to isolate as contact tracing begins.

All affected individuals are now isolating. In collaboration with the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD), SWS will identify and notify anyone in the campus community who may have had close contact with any of these individuals. Anyone found to be at risk of exposure will be provided specific instructions for quarantining and isolation.

This brings the total number of reported COVID-19 cases among members of the Caltech campus community and off-campus facilities to 140 since March 2020. On January 5, Caltech launched a new campus-based surveillance testing program to regularly screen all individuals reporting to campus or accessing campus facilities for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Students, faculty members, postdoctoral scholars, and staff members who report to campus are required to participate; on-campus affiliates and contractors are encouraged to participate.

It is imperative that all members of our community remain diligent in adhering to all preventative measures and county and city health orders that have been implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, especially as we face increasing transmission and infection rates locally and nationwide. 

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

  • Notify SWS if you have been exposed to anyone with a positive test for COVID-19; 
  • Stay home if you are ill or have a fever; 
  • Use the Caltech COVID-19 Reporting application on the days you are scheduled to be on site; 
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol; 
  • Wear a face covering (an independent faculty group has explored the effectiveness of several dozen commercially available masks – access.caltech credentials required); and  
  • Maintain a minimum of six feet of physical distance from others on campus. 

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.