First COVID-19 ‘cluster’ identified locally off campus

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 10/12/20 5:28pm

by Naina Bhalla / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

Three undergraduate students living together locally off campus have tested positive for COVID-19, making for the first “cluster” of COVID-19 cases in the Dartmouth community.

In a campus-wide email on Monday afternoon, COVID-19 task force co-chairs Lisa Adams and Josh Keniston wrote that the students had “limited access to campus” and are receiving medical support in isolation. College spokesperson Diana Lawrence wrote in an email statement to The Dartmouth that the College is unable to provide additional details regarding the students’ place of residence or isolation.

The College is working with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and the Vermont Department of Health in a contact tracing investigation to “identify and quarantine anyone who was in close contact with the students in the two days prior to the onset of their symptoms or notice of their positive test results,” according to the COVID-19 task force email.

According to Adams and Keniston, the College “became aware” of the cluster this afternoon. Lawrence wrote that the test result for the third student in the cluster was received today. The two other students in the cluster tested positive last week, according to the COVID-19 dashboard.

New Hampshire defines a COVID-19 cluster as three or more active cases of the virus that are linked to each other, as identified through a case investigation or another tracing method.

There are no other active cases among students, according to the dashboard, which currently shows the three active student cases and two additional cases among faculty and staff. Since July 1, there have been nine student cases and three faculty and staff cases in total.

Students living in the area are tested weekly. A total of 19,455 tests have been administered to students through the College, and another 4,401 tests have been given to faculty and staff since July 1. 

The email noted that the College must notify the community of COVID-19 clusters in accordance with Dartmouth's emergency notice procedures and the emergency notification requirements under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act. Lawrence wrote that the Dartmouth community will be notified any time there is a COVID-19 “cluster” within the community.

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

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