Graduate Student Tests Positive for COVID-19

The student is one of three who were being tested for the coronavirus.

A Dartmouth graduate student living off-campus in the Upper Valley has tested presumptively positive for COVID-19.

The student is one of three Dartmouth community members who were being tested for the coronavirus. The results of the other two tests are pending.

The community was notified of the test result early this evening in an email from Provost Joseph Helble.

"The disease has now been found in the Dartmouth community," he wrote. "The transmission path of this latest case is following the expected trajectory of the disease, with more members of our community expected to become infected over time. There remain, however, steps we can and should take to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Whether you are young or old, and regardless of how well you feel, there are actions we must take that put the community first."

Helble wrote that Dartmouth officials have been in touch with the graduate student to be certain the person has everything they need while recovering in isolation.

The other tested students are self-isolating while receiving care and they and the student who tested positive are in touch with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. Those in close contact with the three tested students have been notified and are self-quarantining.

Helble urged people to "make the modest personal sacrifice of remaining at home whenever possible and avoiding parties and other social gatherings. We can help to slow the spread of this virus and protect our friends, families, and neighbors if we limit our physical interaction and continue to practice good hygiene."

An email was sent to the community earlier today notifying faculty, students, and staff that three students had been tested for the virus. The email, from Dartmouth COVID-19 task force co-chairs Lisa Adams, an associate professor of medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine, and Josh Keniston, vice president for institutional projects, reminded the people to take precautions and watch for symptoms.

"To swiftly interrupt COVID-19 transmission, we need to identify and ensure that all individuals with potential infection are tested and taking appropriate precautions. It is critical for anyone experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, to seek medical care," Adams and Keniston wrote.

Dartmouth students who are still on campus and think they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should contact Dick's House at 603-646-9400. Faculty and staff showing symptoms should contact their primary care provider.

Most students left campus earlier this month for spring break and were told to remain at home as classes have been moved online for the first five weeks of spring term, until May 1. Today, all employees whose jobs enable them to work from home have begun to do so. Those who remain at work on campus have been urged to begin practicing social distancing.

Other COVID-19 actions taken today:

  • President Philip J. Hanlon '77 and Provost Joseph Helble will address the Dartmouth community at 3 p.m. on Wednesday in a video town hall meeting. The meeting will be broadcast live on this link
     
  • Based on CDC guidance, Dartmouth is canceling or postponing in-person events that consist of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks. Additional institutional protocols, including social distancing and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting measures, have been implemented to help maintain the health and safety of our community.
     
  • Dartmouth Skiway curtailed its mountain operations for the remainder of the season, effective yesterday. The Skiway will have limited staff on hand to conduct non-skiing business, such as lease equipment returns, Wednesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., through April 4. If you are unable to return equipment during this period, please email the Dartmouth Skiway at [email protected] or call 603-795-2143.

"We understand that this is a stressful and uncertain time for many people in our community," Adams and Keniston wrote. "We remain in close communication with state health officials and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and are coordinating efforts with colleagues across the institution to ensure everyone's continued health and safety."

The COVID-19 task force meets daily to plan for and manage possible disruptions related to the coronavirus outbreak, monitor federal and state recommendations, implement guidance, and communicate with the community.

For the latest information on Dartmouth's response to the pandemic, visit the COVID-19 website