Trinity Community Member Tests Positive for COVID-19, “Campus Community Not At Any Increased Risk”

Brendan W. Clark ’21

Editor-in-Chief

A member of the Trinity College community has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a recent email from Director of Health Services Martha O’Brien and Dean of Students Joe DiChristina. It is believed to be the first confirmed case within the Trinity community. The individual had been on campus through Saturday, Mar. 14.

The individual has “been home for a week and became symptomatic after returning home.” It was not immediately clear whether or not the individual was a student. Students were required to depart the Trinity campus, unless dispensation had been given from the Dean of Students Office, by noon Monday, Mar. 16.

Further, O’Brien and DiChristina indicated that “consultation with a Hartford Healthcare infectious disease specialist has confirmed that the Trinity community is not at any increased risk because of this case.”

DiChristina told the Tripod that as of Sunday, there are “270 students on campus” and that those remaining continue to receive support via “grab-n-go” options which are “attentive to CDC guidelines on social distancing.” DiChristina further indicated that Residential Life remains “in contact with students to ensure they are supported during this time period” and added that the College has “protocols” for those who may feel unwell or need to go into quarantine or isolation.

The email indicated that the person “received the diagnosis yesterday afternoon, was contacted by their state public health department, and has since informed us.” O’Brien and DiChristina indicated that the small number of individuals who were in contact with the person have been informed and have been provided “guidance on self-quarantining and monitoring for symptoms.” Those individuals are not on campus and “all report feeling well and being asymptomatic,” according to the communication.

In a separate communication to the community on Thursday, Vice President for Communications and Marketing Angela Schaeffer, on behalf of the Emergency Management Team, indicated that “a rapid response team has been poised to act in the event of a COVID-19 case on campus.” Schaeffer indicated that in the event of a case that team would notify “public health officials and relevant administrators,” conduct “an exposure risk assessment with the public health department,” and take “all measures necessary to isolate and care for those who are sick or who’ve been exposed to the virus.”

As the Tripod has reported, Trinity had previously closed its campus and moved to remote learning because of concerns around COVID-19.

DiChristina also indicated that those remaining on campus received additional guidance yesterday about COVID-19 preparedness and, in an email to those students, added that in the case of infection the Health Center “will work with you to help you through this, and a staff member will check in with you via phone regularly to help you manage this.”

The communication emphasized that it is critical that students “not leave their room” if they become infected and indicated that impacted students may “need to be moved to a separate space.”

Schaffer also indicated that “going forward,” the College “won’t be sending out broad notifications to the community about every confirmed case or every suspected case.” Rather, she indicated, the College will “assess the need to communicate broadly on a case-by-case basis, following public health officials’ guidance on any necessary notifications.”

bclark

Brendan W. Clark '21 is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Trinity Tripod, Trinity College's student newspaper.

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