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First U.Va. student reported to test positive for COVID-19

The student, who lives off-Grounds in Albemarle County, is one of three new cases in the Charlottesville area

University officials have urged students to leave the Charlottesville area and return home to contain the spread of COVID-19.
University officials have urged students to leave the Charlottesville area and return home to contain the spread of COVID-19.

A University student has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to the University’s tally of confirmed cases within the University community. This is the first U.Va. student reported to test positive. 

The unidentified student lives off-Grounds in Albemarle County, and their condition is unclear as of press time. Kathryn Goodman, public information officer for the Virginia Department of Health’s Thomas Jefferson Health District, says that an investigation is ongoing to determine how the student contracted COVID-19.

An email statement co-authored by Christopher P. Holstege, executive director of the Elson Student Health Center, and Patricia M. Lampkin, vice president and chief student affairs officer, stated that it is believed the student acquired the virus from international travel. The student is isolated and receiving care from the Virginia Department of Health.

“The Virginia Department of Health is leading the effort, with the assistance of University officials, to identify people who were in contact with this individual, reaching out to those individuals, and arranging for their self-isolation, if necessary,” Holstege and Lampkin wrote.

There are now three confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported within the University community — the first being a University employee in their late 50s who worked at the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center and the second a University employee who worked at the Biocomplexity Institute in Arlington, Va. There are at least 94 coronavirus cases in Virginia as of Thursday night. The student’s case is one of three new confirmed cases the Virginia Department of Health announced in the Charlottesville area earlier today.

Information about additional cases within the University community will be added to the University’s website listing confirmed cases in the community. 

“We will not be emailing about each [new case], but our default will be to post notifications of new cases to the coronavirus website and to email about new cases sparingly,” Holstege and Lampkin wrote.

University officials have urged students to leave the Charlottesville area and return home to contain the spread of COVID-19. The University of Virginia Health System also announced today that it now has the capability to conduct its own COVID-19 tests.

“We have started performing local tests in a limited capacity, about 20 per day right now, with the hopes of increasing to around 80 per day by this weekend,” said Eric Swensen, U.Va Health System spokesman. 

More updates and information can be found at www.virginia.edu/coronavirus or by calling the U.Va. COVID-19 Response Line at 877-685-4836 for domestic callers, or 202-800-2408 for international callers.

This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.

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