COVID-19 Update: First Wake Forest Student Case Confirmed

This message was sent on March 21 to the Wake Forest community and parents and families:

Dear Wake Forest community,

Public Health officials have confirmed that a Wake Forest student, who is currently in isolation at home and not residing on campus, has tested positive for COVID-19. After returning to the U.S. from a Wake Forest-sponsored trip to London and returning home, the student began exhibiting mild symptoms and was immediately isolated from others. The student is currently recovering well.

The student did return to campus briefly to retrieve personal items but was not exhibiting any symptoms at that time. Public health officials in the student’s home county determined that there was no significant risk to the Wake Forest community.

Though we are not able to share the individual’s name or identifying information for privacy reasons, please be assured that caring professionals, including representatives from the Student Health Service, will provide information to those who participated in the London trip regarding their risk of exposure from travel.

Please remember that unless you have received an individual email, text message or phone call requesting a screening from Student Health or your local health department, you are not known to be at risk related to this one sponsored-trip.

As of today (March 21), there are 184 confirmed cases in North Carolina. With increased testing in the state and around the country, we anticipate this number will grow rapidly as more people are tested and community spread of COVID-19 continues. With this number of confirmed cases in the state, and more around the country, many members of our community have likely come into contact with someone infected with COVID-19 through the process of daily activity.

Students, faculty and staff presenting symptoms must immediately self-isolate. Students remaining on campus or in the local Winston-Salem area who develop symptoms can call the Student Health Service (336-758-5218) or their primary care provider for medical advice. Students who reside outside of the Winston-Salem area should contact their primary care provider or local public health department for guidance. Also, faculty and staff who exhibit symptoms should contact their primary care provider or local public health department for guidance.

Continue to practice social distancing per the guidelines of the CDC. The University will follow recommendations of public health officials and infectious disease experts to further reduce community transmission of the virus. Following this guidance, we have implemented more restrictive operating procedures on campus, including:

  • All students remaining on campus are being moved into single occupancy rooms.
  • Access to campus is limited to those with active WFU ID cards and verified deliveries via Reynolda Road and University Parkway entrances (gates are monitored 24/7)
  • Campus buildings such as ZSR Library and Reynolds Gym have been closed. Student Health remains open. The operating status and available hours of campus facilities can be found here.
  • The Pit is providing carry-out meals only (no dining in the facility). Plans are in place to provide multi-meal care packages for pick up or delivery.

The University has reduced the density of our campus population to slow the spread of the virus and avoid overwhelming health care and community systems. Wake Forest has moved all course instruction to remote delivery, requested that employees work remotely if possible, and reduced the number of students who are permitted to remain in residence halls. The University does have employees who are deemed essential working on campus. Supervisors who have not already communicated information regarding essential employees to Human Resources or Environmental Health and Safety should complete the essential employee form immediately.

We continue to monitor this rapidly changing situation and will provide additional updates to the community as they arise. The best place to find information on Wake Forest’s response to coronavirus is at coronavirus.wfu.edu. The Wake Forest Call Center will be operating today (Saturday, 3/21) from 4 pm to 8 pm Eastern, and Sunday (3/22) between 10 am-2 pm; that number is 336-758-7500. Hours for next week will be 9 am to 5 pm.

Sincerely,

Penny Rue
Vice President for Campus Life

Cecil D. Price, MD
Director, Student Health Service