Release Date: March 18, 2020
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A member of the University at Buffalo community has tested positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the university learned today from the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH).
This is the first confirmed case among the UB community, and the individual is in mandatory isolation in their off-campus private residence, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
UB is working closely with ECDOH officials to reach out to any students, faculty or staff who may have come into contact with this individual. These people may, in accordance with CDC guidelines, be placed under a mandatory self-quarantine to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. They will not return to campus until they have completed the quarantine.
While health officials have said the potential for surface exposure is low, the university is thoroughly cleaning areas to ensure the safest environment possible.
Because UB is on spring recess this week, the vast majority of students are off campus and classes are not in session. Starting Monday, the university will move to a distance learning model, in which classes, labs and other learning environments will be taught online. Students are being advised to say home for the remainder of the semester if they are able to do so.
Also, non-essential employees were directed earlier this week by the Office of the Governor of New York to begin working from home, or alternate work locations, until further notice. Essential employees and members of the university community who are on campus have advised to practice social distancing and monitor their health according to guidelines provided by the CDC and ECDOH.
“Please let me reiterate that the University at Buffalo’s first priority is the health and safety of our entire campus community. UB is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and taking all appropriate precautions to safeguard the well-being of our students, faculty and staff. This includes following the guidance of the CDC, and the state and county health departments,” UB President Satish K. Tripathi said.
“Throughout these challenging and unprecedented times, I have been deeply appreciative of the respect and care you have shown each other as a university community. As always, we are here to support you,” Tripathi added.
UB is asking members of the campus community to continue monitoring their health. This includes following public health recommendations to avoid the spread of respiratory illnesses—namely, social distancing; avoiding close contact with sick individuals; frequent hand-washing; covering your cough or sneezing into a tissue; cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces; avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; and staying home when you are sick.
For any developments in this latest news—and all other relevant updates—visit UB’s COVID-19 website.