A Dartmouth College graduate student is confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Joseph Helble, Dartmouth’s provost, and more positive tests among the college community are expected in the coming days.
Helble sent an e-mail Monday night informing members of the Dartmouth community that the graduate student who tested a presumptive positive for the virus does not live on the Hanover campus, but instead resides in off-campus housing.
“We have been in touch with this person and their roommate to make sure they are comfortable and that they have everything they need while the person who tested positive recovers,” Helble wrote.
Two other Dartmouth students are also being tested for the viral infection and those test results are pending, according to Helble.
“As stated earlier, the students undergoing testing are following protocol by staying in their homes and will be working with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services to determine if any other close contacts also need to quarantine,” he said in the email.
Helble said in the e-mail that given the transmission rates of the illness that more cases of infection within the school’s community are coming. The college is taking steps to stem the tide of the infection, he said. Dartmouth has announced remote learning for students through to May, and faculty and staff have been directed to work from home. International learning opportunities have been canceled for the spring and maybe further.
Helble is urging students and staff to stay in their homes as much as possible.
“Please make the modest personal sacrifice of remaining at home whenever possible and avoiding parties and other social gatherings,” he said. “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.”
The path of this individual infection is not yet known. Last month Grafton County saw the first COVID-19 infection when a Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center employee returned from a trip to Italy with the illness. That employee reportedly refused to comply with a self-isolation recommendation and attended a social gathering for students attending class at Dartmouth’s graduate Tuck School of Business. That gathering reportedly had approximately 200 people in attendance.
“I know that news reports can be discouraging, but please remember that we have the ability to slow the transmission of this virus by putting the safety of all members of our community first,” Helble wrote.