8/04/2021 - 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 cases reported to Caltech
In the last 24 hours, Student Wellness Services (SWS) has learned that three members of the Caltech community tested positive for COVID-19.
- A staff member at an off-campus facility was identified through community testing on August 4.
- A staff member was identified through Caltech's surveillance testing program on August 4. This individual last accessed campus on August 3.
- A staff member was identified through symptomatic testing at SWS on August 3. The individual last accessed campus on July 26.
Individuals who participate in the surveillance program have been instructed to continue with their normally scheduled activities and responsibilities unless contacted by SWS. Please note that specimens collected through the surveillance program take up to 48 hours to process. Participants do not receive individual-level results from the Caltech COVID Surveillance Lab (CCSL). Any positive screening through the surveillance lab will be referred for confirmatory diagnostic testing by SWS. Individuals with a positive diagnostic test result from SWS will isolate and participate in contact tracing.
The affected individuals are now isolating. In collaboration with local public health authorities, 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.
This brings the total number of reported COVID-19 cases among members of the Caltech campus community and off-campus facilities to 218 since March 2020.
Caltech requires that any individual who is officially enrolled, employed, or managed by the Institute and who reports to or accesses campus facilities even on an occasional or one-day-a-week basis, including students, faculty members, postdoctoral scholars, staff members, and registered visitors and volunteers, submit proof of their fully vaccinated status with the COVID-19 Vaccination Documentation tool. All community members who have not yet reported their fully vaccinated status must participate in the Institute's updated surveillance testing program, which has shifted to a self-collection process that is facilitated through an on-site laboratory located in the Beckman Institute. Other visitors or external affiliates who are reporting to campus for work or other activities for a month or longer are encouraged but not required to participate in these protocols, and should contact their Caltech account or contract manager for further information.
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.
The Institute's updated surveillance testing program is exploring collaborations with external resources for sequencing of any samples that screen positive for SARS-CoV-2. Such sequencing would provide the Institute with insight into the strains or variants of the virus that are present in our community. More information will be provided to the community when and if it is available.
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;
- Submit proof of your vaccination status with the COVID-19 Vaccination Reporting tool;
- Participate in Caltech's surveillance testing program when you report to campus if you are not fully vaccinated or have not yet documented your fully vaccinated status with the Institute. This requirement extends to all community members who are officially enrolled, employed, or managed by the Institute and who report to or access campus facilities even on an occasional or one-day-a-week basis.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol; and
- Wear a face covering 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.