Dartmouth student tests presumptive positive for COVID-19

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 3/16/20 8:38pm

A Dartmouth graduate student living off-campus has tested “presumptive positive” for COVID-19, provost Joseph Helble announced in a campus-wide email on Monday night. This marks the first case of the novel coronavirus within the College community.

A “presumptive positive” result indicates that a patient has tested positive in a local public health laboratory, but results are still pending confirmation at a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab, according to College spokesperson Diana Lawrence.

Helble’s email added that the College has contacted the student and their roommate to ensure that they are both comfortable as the infected student recovers.

A second graduate student and one undergraduate have also been tested for the virus, but results are still pending, according to Lawrence. She added that the three cases are unrelated and that the students do not live together.

According to Helble, all three students are following protocol by staying in their homes. He added that the students will be working with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services to determine any close contacts who may also need to quarantine.

Helble wrote that while the transmission path of this case follows the “expected trajectory of the disease, with more members of our community expected to become infected over time,” it is important that members of the community continue to work to stop the spread.

A subsequent email from Dean of the College Kathryn Lively reminded students to limit social contact, remain home whenever possible and maintain social distancing of six feet or more, noting that “we need to take more aggressive steps to slow the spread and protect those who may be most vulnerable among us.”

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.