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12/21/2020 - 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 case reported to Caltech

Over the weekend, Student Wellness Services (SWS) learned that six members of the Caltech community have tested positive for COVID-19.

Five cases were identified through the on-campus surveillance testing program via tests conducted between December 16-18.

  • A graduate student who last accessed campus on December 15 and had previously tested negative through surveillance testing on December 14;
  • A graduate student who last accessed campus on December 18 and had previously tested negative through surveillance testing on December 11;
  • Two staff members who each last accessed campus on December 18 and had previously tested negative through surveillance testing on December 14; 
  • A staff member who last accessed campus on December 18 and had previously tested negative through surveillance testing on December 7.

In addition, a graduate student who was tested off campus reported positive test results through the COVID-19 Reporting Application on December 20. This individual last accessed campus on December 18 and had tested negative during surveillance testing on December 17.

All affected individuals live in off-campus, non-Caltech housing and 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 100 since March 2020, 48 of which were reported within the last two weeks. 

Given the recent surge in transmission activity in the broader community, it is difficult at this time to definitively establish whether campus-based transmission is occurring, although SWS and the PPHD continue to investigate the possibility of such epidemiological links for each case reported. 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; 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. 

Winter break schedule: Daily updates will continue through December 23. Updates during the break will occur on December 28 and December 30. Daily updates will resume on January 4.