11/09/2020

[PORT] Important COVID-19 Testing Update

Dear Students, Faculty, and Professional Staff,

In a communication sent this past Friday morning (Nov. 7) on behalf of PORT, I wrote about four recent positive COVID-19 cases resulting from Nov. 2 and 3 modified universal testing. Per our protocol, the College followed up with contact tracing and required the students affected to adhere to a modified quarantine until they receive a negative test result. Those students participated in additional surveillance testing on Friday afternoon.

Of the 72 students tested on Friday, eight students received a positive test result. The remaining 64 students tested negative. The total number of active cases is 13. None of the professional staff tested on Friday were positive. Contact tracing has been completed, and students have moved or are moving into quarantine or isolation as necessary. Of the students who tested positive, most have chosen to isolate at home. Contact tracing results suggest that the positives were concentrated in a few small groups. We have no indication of a superspreader event.

At this time, the College’s current alert level remains at the “moderate” level of risk, meaning that the current number of active cases as identified by recent testing is considered manageable, and contact tracing suggests that exposures are confined to small numbers of people. Our protocols allow us to contain, isolate, and remediate small flare-ups. Nonetheless, there are multiple factors involved, and the risk level could elevate at any time. If the risk level rises, the result may be that all classes would move to remote instruction and all students in residence would need to quarantine in their rooms.

Obviously, this is disappointing news, but it is consistent with the rising levels of cases nationally, regionally, and locally. At this moment, it is especially important that everyone follow safety protocols, including mask wearing, physical distancing, handwashing, and all other appropriate precautions. The spike in cases around us is significant enough that we should all treat every person we see as if they have the virus.  

With the more frequent testing protocols we have put into place for Module 2, we will be testing about one-third of the student body on Monday and Tuesday. Within the next day or two, we will also receive wastewater test results from samples taken last week. We will report on those results in Friday’s COVID-19 dashboard update on the pandemic operations information website. We continue to monitor this situation closely and will update the community immediately should circumstances change.

 

Best wishes,

Alan Caniglia on behalf of PORT