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12/3/2020 - New COVID-19 case 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 past 24 hours, Student Wellness Services (SWS) has learned that an employee at the Children's Center at Caltech (CCC) has tested positive for COVID-19 through SWS's campus surveillance testing program. The employee was last on campus on December 1 and is now isolating at home. The Children's Center administrative staff, in collaboration with the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD), will identify and notify anyone in the campus community who may have had close contact with this employee. Anyone found to be at risk of exposure will be provided specific instructions for quarantining and isolation.

One additional positive result was returned from the surveillance testing conducted on December 1; however, this individual had a prior confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and has completed the isolation period and had already been cleared to return to work. Individuals who have had a positive laboratory test within the last 90 days should not participate in the surveillance testing program, as they may continue to test positive even after they are no longer infectious. This individual has already been counted in the "Total COVID-19 Cases" table on the dashboard, and will not be counted as an additional positive case. However, the positive test result will be noted on the dashboard's "On-campus Surveillance Testing" table.

This brings the total number of reported COVID-19 cases among members of the Caltech campus community and off-campus facilities to 49, of which 11 were reported in the last 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. However, we are also seeing an abrupt increase in COVID-19 cases in our community that reflects the surge in positive cases being seen across the county, state, and nation. 

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 consults with the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) about questions of community transmission related to campus cases; to date, 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.