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12/21/2021 - New COVID-19 cases reported to Caltech

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To: The Campus Community
From: Jennifer Howes, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Wellness

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

Four individuals tested positive through the Institute's on-campus surveillance testing program:

  • Two staff members tested positive on December 21. Both last accessed campus on December 20.
  • Two graduate students tested positive on December 21. One, who does not live in Caltech housing, last accessed campus on December 20. The other lives in Caltech housing and last accessed campus on December 21.

One staff member reported a positive off-campus test through the COVID-19 Reporting Application:

  • This individual tested positive on December 17 and last accessed campus that same day.

The affected individuals are now isolating. In collaboration with the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD), 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 291 since March 2020.

The Institute's vaccination policies require that all employees and students document their full vaccination status or have an approved exemption on file, and that those with an exemption participate in mandatory twice-weekly surveillance testing. In response to guidance from the CDC and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the Institute announced on December 17 that students and staff will now be required to also receive a COVID-19 booster shot. Details on how to submit proof of the booster will be provided shortly.

All undergraduate students—regardless of vaccination status and living location—and graduate students living in Caltech housing are also required to participate in the twice-weekly surveillance testing program. The Institute's self-collection surveillance testing program is facilitated through an on-site laboratory located in the Beckman Institute. Fully vaccinated employees and visitors or external affiliates who report to campus for work or other activities are able to voluntarily opt-in to participate in the program.

It is imperative that all members of our community remain diligent in adhering to all preventative measures and to county and city health orders that have been implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

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

  • Immediately notify SWS if you are ill, have had a positive test for COVID-19, or have been exposed to anyone with a positive test for COVID-19.
  • Stay home if you are ill, have a fever, or have otherwise been instructed to quarantine or isolate.
  • Participate in Caltech's surveillance testing program when you report to campus if you have an approved exemption, are an enrolled undergraduate student, or are a graduate student living in Caltech housing.
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol
  • Wear an appropriate face covering when 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.