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COVID-19 Updates, News, University News

Member of Brown community tests positive for COVID-19

Rhode Island Department of Health emails potentially exposed individuals, recommends self-quarantine

By
University News Editor
Saturday, March 14, 2020

Updated 7:20 P.M., March 14, 2020 

A member of the Brown community has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the University’s website

“The University has learned that yesterday, for the first time, a member of our community tested positive for novel coronavirus,” wrote Provost Richard M. Locke P’18 in an email to the University community today, which was also signed by Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Barbara Chernow and Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Eric Estes.

The Rhode Island Department of Health contacted “students and employees who were in contact with the diagnosed individual,” Locke wrote. The email from RIDOH, which The Herald reviewed, does not specify the identity of the person who tested positive, such as whether the individual is a student or a professor.

Those who attended class with the affected individual were requested to self-quarantine until March 19, according to the email.

Individuals who were in the class “should not attend school, after-school programs, sports practices or go into the community during this time, even if you are not experiencing symptoms,” according to the email. Quarantined students are directed to take their temperature twice a day to monitor for fever as well as “be vigilant for any other symptoms.” Other household members of quarantined students are not required to quarantine. 

David Kleinman ’20, who received the email from RIDOH, said his initial reaction upon receiving the news that he may have been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 was “shock, mainly.”

Even if he were to contract COVID-19, Kleinman said, “I know that I am likely not going to be the one to suffer the most from it,” acknowledging that his quarantine is a protective measure not only for himself, but for the larger community. 

Kleinman lives off-campus, and plans to stay in his apartment for the duration of his quarantine. Health Services contacted Kleinman following the announcement of his quarantine, indicating that it would be preferable for him to quarantine even further from campus. Though his family’s home is just thirty minutes north of the University, Kleinman worries that he would put even more people at risk by quarantining at his home rather than in his apartment near campus. 

Another student who received the email and requested anonymity for fear of personal repercussions lives in Graduate Center B, where she is currently being quarantined. She added that she and other students quarantined on campus were notified that they might be moved to an alternate location in coming days. 

Students in quarantine were notified in the email that they will receive a daily text message through a “Text Illness Monitoring” system in order to track their condition. 

RIDOH also provided a “COVID-19 Daily Symptom and Temperature Log” as well as detailed instructions for accurately self-monitoring symptoms in the email sent to the selected students. 

Many students are currently in the process of moving off campus and returning home after all undergraduate students living on campus and in University-owned properties were asked to leave campus by March 17. Students were previously asked to leave by March 22, but the date was moved forward because of “news reports of the possibility of increased challenges with national and international travel,” Locke wrote. The University recently announced that all classes will be canceled beginning Monday, and will resume online following an extended two-week spring break. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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