MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) – The Monongalia County Health Department and West Virginia University were notified April 8 that “more than a dozen” WVU students have tested positive for COVID-19.
Officials explained that although investigations and contact tracing are ongoing, it is believed that 14 students returned to private, off-campus residences upon returning to Morgantown. The release stated that WVU campuses have been closed and access to buildings has been unavailable since March 20, with limited exceptions.
Officials explained that there is no indication that the students have been on campus.
MCHD and WVU have been working to contain spread of this virus, according to the release from WVU. Local health officials are said to be “quickly working to retrace affected students’ movements, and outreach is being made to those with whom the students may have been in close contact.”
Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 are being highly encouraged to contact WVU’s Office of Student Life at (304) 293-5611, so that the University can best support them if they are presenting with symptoms and to ensure our community is safe.
“We cannot reiterate enough that students need to be taking this virus seriously and follow all of executive orders issued by Gov. Jim Justice as well as health precaution guidelines outlined by our local health officials,” Dean of Students Corey Farris said. “To not do so is putting not only your fellow students’ health at risk, but the health and well-being of our entire Morgantown community.”
Gov. Jim Justice recently extended an executive order to Monongalia County that states that all members of the community should follow these guidelines to help stop the spread of COVID-19:
- Groups be limited to a maximum of five people.
- Residents stay home, only leaving for essential needs (grocery shopping and medical needs).
- Residents continue to practice good hand washing and other hygienic measures.
The University explained that it has maximized the number of employees who are working from home, and alternative instruction for students began Monday, March 30.
“The most important thing we can do at this time as a community is social distance,” said Dr. Lee Smith, director of MCHD. “Leave your home only for essential needs, and when you do, take the proper precautions by wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart from others.”
Those who think that they may have been exposed or are exhibiting symptoms are being advised to call first before seeking medical care. One can contact the West Virginia DHHR hotline at (800) 887-4304, which is available 24 hours, seven days a week. They can also call a personal physician or call WVU Medicine line at (304) 598-6000 (Option 4).