March 19, 2020, Update
To the Dartmouth community,
On Monday, March 16, we informed the campus that three members of the Dartmouth community living in off-campus housing were being tested for COVID-19. One of these individuals, a graduate student, tested presumptive positive for COVID-19 later that day. A second person, also a graduate student, tested negative. We are writing to confirm that the third student, an undergraduate, has been confirmed to be presumptive positive. This third student had voluntarily self-isolated while awaiting testing results and remains so. We have been in touch with this individual to make sure they are comfortable and that they have everything they need while they recover. Students who had close contact with this person are self-quarantining off-campus. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is investigating to determine if any other close contacts also need to quarantine. We are also receiving reports of undergraduates in other states who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Americans of all ages are being sickened by the novel coronavirus. Even those in our community who are young and healthy are also at risk. Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that of the 508 patients known to have been hospitalized in the U.S., 38% were between 20 and 54. And nearly half of the 121 patients who were admitted to intensive care units were adults under 65. Regardless of age or whether you have symptoms, we urge you to practice social distancing, avoiding parties, social gatherings, and nonessential travel. Do not return to Hanover if you are currently living off-campus. It is critical that we all work together to flatten the curve of this pandemic, slowing the transmission of the virus so that the number of people who require medical attention does not overwhelm hospitals. You can prevent the spread of COVID-19 by avoiding other people and continuing to practice good hygiene. See a list of everyday steps recommended by the CDC.
As you may already know, the U.S. and Canada have announced the closing of their shared border to all nonessential traffic. It is important that all faculty, staff, and students still traveling internationally or domestically return home immediately, if possible, or risk being unable to depart at a later date and having to remain in their given location for an unknown period of time. The absence of larger numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in a country does not mean the virus is not present at a greater level or that cases there won't suddenly spike. Many countries are lagging in testing and appropriate diagnosis. See more information on travel support resources.
It is very difficult to isolate ourselves from the people we care about and to restrict our everyday movements and interactions with the world, but by taking these temporary precautions we are protecting the lives of our families, neighbors, and friends. We can rise to this challenge together.
Dr. Lisa Adams
Co-chairs, Dartmouth COVID-19 Task Force