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12/2/2020 - 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 past 24 hours, Student Wellness Services (SWS) has learned of four individuals from the Caltech community who have tested positive for COVID-19: 

  • A staff member who was tested through SWS, and last visited campus on November 6;
  • A staff member who was tested off-campus, and last visited campus on November 23;
  • And two staff members who participated in the campus surveillance testing program on Monday; both individuals briefly reported to campus today before being sent home. 

All affected individuals are now isolating at home. In coordination 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 48, 10 of whom were identified within the past week. With the November 30 launch of a pilot on-campus surveillance testing program, we expected to see an increase in cases as a result of an increase in detection. Only three of the 10 new cases, however, have been identified through SWS's expanded testing program. Thus, most of the abrupt increase in COVID-19 cases in our community reflects the surge in positive cases being seen across the county, state, and nation, and is not just the result of an increase in detection. 

The safety and well-being of Caltech's students, staff, and faculty is our top priority. 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. 

SWS is consulting with the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) about questions of community transmission related to one of the cases reported this week; otherwise, at this time none of the known cases in the Caltech community appear to be epidemiologically linked. Individual health information is confidential and we ask all members of the community to be respectful of those privacy rights.

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;
  • Wear a face covering; 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 that is updated by 2 p.m. PT each weekday. Please note that JPL tracks COVID-19 cases separately and is not included in these data.