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First confirmed case of COVID-19 in our campus community

Dear students, staff, and faculty:

We received confirmation today from the Knox County Health Department that a staff member has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

The employee was last on campus March 16 during spring break. UT Knoxville administrators are assisting health department staff in reaching out to anyone with whom the employee may have come into close contact.

Our staff has been extensively deep cleaning campus buildings and, using appropriate protective measures, will conduct a thorough cleaning of areas where the employee worked.

The staff member is recovering at home in self-isolation. To protect individuals’ private health information, UT Knoxville will not identify faculty, staff, or students diagnosed with COVID-19.

Our thoughts right now are with this member of our campus community. I wish them a speedy recovery, and we are committed to providing them with care and support.

We remain focused on the health and well-being of our campus and our broader community. We will continue our aggressive measures for social distancing as we all do our part to limit community spread, flatten the curve of infections, and protect those who are particularly vulnerable to this disease.

As COVID-19 continues to spread, we expect to learn of more cases among members of the campus and local community. We are aware that some members of the campus community who suspect they may have COVID-19 are already self-isolating as they await further testing and results. We greatly appreciate that they are following CDC’s guidance.

Because of the expected increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases, we may not publicly announce each individual positive test but will be transparent about situations of public concern and overall numbers of positive cases that health officials report to UT Knoxville. In all cases, we will continue to work closely with local and state health officials to notify anyone who may have had close contact with a member of the campus community diagnosed with COVID-19.

Everyone is urged to practice strict social distancing and follow CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I have significantly changed my own behaviors and ask that you rethink yours. It is hard to think about a different way of being in a community, but we can do this.

For more information about our response to this disease, as well as access to resources supporting our online transition, visit utk.edu/coronavirus.

Take care of yourselves and one another.

Donde Plowman signature

 

 

Donde Plowman
Chancellor