Confirmed case of COVID-19 in CSU employee
Email to university community sent 4:25 p.m., March 22
Dear University Community,
Larimer County Department of Health and Environment has confirmed that a Colorado State University employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The test was administered on March 17, after the employee became symptomatic mid-day. The test results were received today.
The employee is a health care worker in the CSU Health Network, which provides health service to CSU students in the Health and Medical Center building on Main Campus. The employee had not worked the three days prior to Tuesday and wore a mask while at work on Tuesday as a routine precaution. She had limited contact with a small number of patients.
As part of a broader response to slowing the spread of the virus, unrelated to this employee’s symptoms, the department where the employee works had stopped seeing patients for routine visits on Wednesday, March 18. As of the 18th, the Health Network continues to provide services remotely or with medically-advised screening at the entrance to the CSU Health and Medical Center.
A medical cleaning crew performs a robust cleaning of the facility to sanitize it multiple times a day, every day, including the area where the staff member was known to have been throughout the days before she became symptomatic. The center is using cleaners approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to kill this virus. All CSU Health Network departments in the building are closed on Sundays.
This employee lives in Larimer County and is a female who is in her 30s.
“I know this information may spark both concern and fear so I want to reassure you that we are doing everything we can to protect the health of our community,” said Joyce McConnell, CSU President. “We join communities across the globe in navigating this uncertain time, but we will get through it together by taking care of one other. There is nothing more important than the health of our community.”
Notifications of close contacts are complete
Public health officials have already traced this employee’s contacts over the last five days, identified the other individuals who may have had contact with the symptomatic employee, interviewed them to learn more about their exposure and risk, and provided them with advice to stay home and self-monitor or quarantine.
Those who have potentially been exposed have already been notified directly by public health officials. If you have not been notified, you have not been identified as a person who had close contact with the symptomatic employee. This includes those who had close contact with the employee while she was at work at the Health and Medical Center.
“At this time, we have no indication that the employee was exposed to the virus while working in the Health and Medical Center,” said Lori Lynn, co-chair of the university’s pandemic planning response task force, and associate executive director of the CSU Health Network. “At this time, based on information from public health officials responding to the case and the routine deep cleanings already performed in the space multiple times a day, a closure of the Health and Medical Center is not warranted.”
CSU is taking all necessary precautions, as outlined by Larimer County and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The university also moved all classes online after Spring Break, which is March 16-24, and all operations are virtual or online beginning Monday, March 23, with the exception of functions that must be performed in person. Many employees were already working from home or remotely.
The best ways to prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, are to:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve. If you use a tissue, immediately throw the tissue in the trash. Do not cover your cough or sneeze with your hands.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch frequently, such as your phone, computer keyboard, desk and doorknobs
If you believe you have been in contact with anyone with COVID-19, contact the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment.
CSU will continue to communicate with you as we learn more about COVID-19 and local concerns. The university also is frequently updating its coronavirus response website, www.safety.colostate.edu/coronavirus.
The Public Safety Team