Dear Members of the Harvard Community,
I write to share additional updates following President Bacow’s March 13th email about coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in progress. We have learned that the second person mentioned in the message had a negative result; the third person had a presumptive positive test and is receiving care off campus. As noted before, this person was tested based on close contact with the individual who received a positive test result on Friday.
Respect patient privacy: Anonymity for all these individuals remains paramount. Please respect their privacy even if you believe you know who they are, so they can focus completely on their health.
Contact tracing efforts are underway: Contact investigation and notification is overseen by the local Department of Public Health. Persons who have had close contact with the individuals in question have been notified by the Department of Public Health in accordance with standard public health principles. If you have not been notified, then you are not deemed to have increased risk because of exposure to these individuals.
For information about future cases: Efforts are underway to expand access to tests, making it less feasible to notify the community of all tests collected. Going forward, we will provide updates on the number of positive cases in our community via the Harvard Coronavirus webpage, rather than through community-wide email. You can also find other guidance and information about COVID-19 on this website.
HUHS is here to help: If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please review and follow HUHS’ guidance on whether you should self-isolate/quarantine. Email HUHS at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need further advice or have symptoms.
Contact HUHS if you’ve been tested for COVID-19: Even if you do not usually get medical care at HUHS, we ask you to let us know if you are being tested or if you tested positive for COVID-19, because this will help us assess the impact on our community (you can email us at email@example.com).
Social distancing is critical to our community response. Please continue to take these steps to keep yourself and those around you safe.
Giang T. Nguyen, MD, MPH, MSCE, FAAFP
Executive Director, Harvard University Health Services