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First Confirmed Case Of COVID-19 At UCI

A non-student resident of UCI’s graduate housing tested positive for COVID-19 according to an announcement from the Medical Director of the UCI Student Health Center Dr. Albert Chang earlier this morning. The individual “returned from an international trip with symptoms” and has been reported to be isolated and in “good condition.” 

Due to health privacy laws, UCI cannot disclose the individual’s identity or personal information. However, UCI has been in coordination with the Orange County Health Care Agency and has contacted those who may have “been exposed through contact.”

According to Chang, risk to the general campus population remains low. Despite the low risk, as testing becomes more available in the coming weeks, Chang predicts that “additional positive cases” will be reported within the UCI community.

“As we begin spring break, we remain diligent in our efforts to keep our community safe,” Chang said.

“Remote learning for spring quarter is underway and large gatherings have been canceled. Our social-distancing efforts will help our community ‘flatten the curve’ and deploy vital health care resources to those who need it most.”

UCI’s winter quarter finals were held remotely, and spring quarter classes will also be held online due to COVID-19.

Campus officials have reported that “as many staff as possible are now telecommuting to work,” many buildings and facilities are closing and all campus events have been canceled. On-site operations only remain for “critical functions.” All of the enacted initiatives will “remain effective for the immediate future.”

UCI canceled its spring graduation commencement until further notice on March 13 in anticipation of COVID-19 spread.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order on March 19 as an executive precaution against rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the state. On March 17, Orange County banned all private and public gatherings of any number of people until 11:59 p.m. on March 31.

As of March 21, there are 78 confirmed cases of the virus in the county with 1,364 confirmed active cases and 24 deaths statewide.

“A team of UCI researchers is already working on a COVID-19 therapeutic drug study,” Gillman said in a statement on March 20. 

“Backed by the National Institutes of Health, this clinical trial is considered the first that has possible efficacy and should be ready for patients soon. Other university work is underway to develop tests, treatments and vaccines to help us identify, contain and prevent pandemics.”

For more information on COVID-19, please visit http://www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Chelsea Pan is a 2019-2020 City News Co-Editor. She can be reached at citynews@newuniversity.org.