Student at Indiana University tests positive for COVID-19

IU Campus
Posted at 3:47 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 18:25:07-04

BLOOMINGTON — A student at Indiana University in Bloomington who is living off campus has tested positive for COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. It is Monroe County's first confirmed case.

The university made the announcement on Friday.

According to the university, the student has been in isolation since March 13 when they went to the IU Health Center in Bloomington. Officials said the student is showing mild conditions.

The university got results from a private lab in North Carolina on Friday morning.

The Monroe County Health Department is conducting contact tracing in an effort to follow up with others who may have come into contact with the student.

Penny Caudill, administrator of the Monroe County Health Department, said initial interviews with patients are extensive in an effort to track down potential close contacts. Health department officials then work with those contacts.

Caudill said measures that are being implemented at the national, state, county and local levels are all necessary and important in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We need to be practicing preventative measures," Caudill said. "Knowing there is an identified case in the community enhances the awareness we need to be doing those things."

Beth Rupp, medical director at the IU Health Center on the Bloomington campus, said so far 12 students have been tested for COVID-19, including the one case that was confirmed on Friday. Three tests have come back negative and eight additional tests are currently pending.

Rupp said the patient immediately followed direction to self-isolate and has remained in isolation. Rupp said staff from the IU Health Center have called to check on the patient daily.

It is not known where the student who tested positive for the virus was exposed, Rupp said. The student had no recent travel history.

Brad Seifers, university director for emergency management and continuity, said Indiana University began making emergency preparedness plans for the virus in mid-January with a small incident management team. The team scaled up in late January and for the last four weeks have been operating an incident management center, communicating with decision-makers not only on the Bloomington campus, but with the university's seven campuses across the state.