Category: Messages to the Community

Title: Public Health Alert: Update on Student COVID-19 Cases

Date Published: September 14, 2020

Dear Members of the Georgetown Community, 

In the past several days we have identified eight positive cases of COVID-19 among students living on-campus, seven of whom reside in the Village A apartment complex. The cases were identified through student participation in mandatory twice-per-week testing for members of our community approved to live on campus, and the impacted students have been moved into designated isolation areas on campus. We are also cleaning and disinfecting any impacted areas on campus in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.  

We have communicated with the students’ close contacts and instructed them to quarantine for 14 days as required by the DC Department of Health. 

We are coordinating with the DC Department of Health and our public health team has connected with the affected individuals regarding medical care and isolation, and has performed contact tracing and provided support services, as appropriate. The initial contact tracing has suggested that transmission was due to students’ social networks and activities. Residential proximity may play a role moving forward, though as members of our community know, Village A comprises a series of buildings without traditional communal spaces and common entrances. 

There are approximately 500 students living on-campus, and all students living on- campus are required to be tested twice-per-week in accordance with Georgetown’s Public Health testing protocols. Our testing protocol is intended to identify students who are otherwise asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic and allows us to isolate affected students early so we can work to halt the spread of the virus in the community. Because our goal is to identify cases and contacts quickly, it is likely that we may identify more cases among quarantined individuals this week. 

All Georgetown students living off-campus in the surrounding Neighborhoods should be tested once-per-week, so they, too, can benefit from identifying an infection in the asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic stage. 

Georgetown collaborates with and supports the DC government’s contact tracing program, led by the DC Department of Health. DC contract tracers will contact individuals directly if they were determined to have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19. Close contact is defined by the CDC as within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting two days before the onset of illness or the identification of a positive test.

We are respecting the privacy and medical confidentiality of our community members who have tested positive for COVID-19. Current information about confirmed cases can be found on the COVID-19 Confirmed Cases page.

Anyone who is feeling ill with symptoms that could be related to COVID-19 should call their primary care physician or, if a student, contact the Student Health Center (202-687-2200), schedule coronavirus testing and self-isolate until advised by a healthcare professional. 

To help prevent the spread of the virus, it is important for our community to comply with the health and safety guidelines of the Georgetown University Community Compact (“Community Compact”), the District of Columbia and the federal government. There may be significant repercussions for those who violate these rules. We encourage you to wear a mask, stay six feet apart, limit the size of gatherings to no more than 10 people (with attendees wearing masks and socializing outdoors to the greatest extent possible) and follow these other measures – as Every Hoya, Everywhere has a role to play in keeping our community healthy and safe.

Sincerely,

Dr. Ranit Mishori

Interim Chief Public Health Officer