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Update on COVID-19 for the University community

To: University students, faculty and staff

Date: March 13, 2020 

The New Jersey Health Department has notified the University that one of the two staff members under self-isolation after possible exposure to COVID-19 has tested positive.  The staff member remains in self-isolation, and we are working to ensure they have the support and access to care that they need. 

As the University announced March 10, two staff members were possibly exposed to the coronavirus at an off-campus gathering. The test results for the second staff member under self-isolation are still pending from the state health department.

Earlier this week, the University worked with local health authorities to identify and contact those who may have been in direct close contact with the two staff members since their potential exposure to COVID-19. These individuals have been under self-quarantine as a precaution. These individuals will be notified by Occupational Health about the duration of the self-quarantine they need to observe. If these individuals develop symptoms they need to seek care and testing through their primary care providers and notify the University that they are being tested by emailing communityhealth@princeton.edu

Out of an abundance of caution, a Princeton student who was exhibiting flu-like symptoms was tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 11 at McCosh Health Center and was immediately placed in isolation. The student continues to remain in isolation at McCosh until the results are received in the coming days.

As the University announced Monday, we have enacted new policies and practices designed to help protect the health and well-being of all members of the University community. These policies and practices were put in place in anticipation of this eventuality. They are based on the concept of social distancing, and the goal is to decrease the number of situations that require community members to gather in large groups and to minimize the time spent in close proximity with each other.

We cannot stress this enough — no one should be engaging in large gatherings on campus at this time, either formal or informal in nature.  Social distancing practices —including avoiding crowds — is the number one way to keep yourself safe and slow the rate of potential COVID-19 transmission.  Even a moderate sized gathering can greatly increase your chance of exposure, and the chance of exposure of anyone you come into contact with.

The University is following best practices in order to maintain the health and safety of the community including taking enhanced cleaning and disinfecting measures.  We cannot stress enough how important it is to adhere to University standards of conduct and follow the public health measures proven to mitigate community spread of the virus. 

Prevention measures are similar to those utilized against the common cold and flu.  Those measures include frequent hand washing and avoiding touching one’s face with unwashed hands. If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and please call in advance. Undergraduate and graduate students should call University Health Services at 609-258-3141. Employees should contact their primary care provider or local urgent care center.

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