By Erin Woo
The University is “aware of” 29 people who are either faculty, staff, students or postdocs and have tested positive for COVID-19, Environmental Health & Safety Associate Vice Provost Russell Furr announced on Friday evening.
Of those cases, one is a student who is currently living on campus and self-isolating, according to Furr.
“This figure includes both individuals tested at Stanford as well those who have been tested elsewhere and have self-reported their results to the university,” Furr wrote. “It includes students who have left the Stanford area and returned to their homes. It also includes School of Medicine employees, including those working in clinical settings.”
The Tuesday evening announcement is the University’s first public update to the number of confirmed cases among Stanford affiliates since March 14, when President Marc Tessier-Lavigne announced that the first undergraduate had been diagnosed with coronavirus while breaking the news that spring quarter would move online. Two cases in the School of Medicine and one “on the main campus” had already been identified by the University, and three more undergraduates have since told The Daily that they tested positive for COVID-19.
But Furr cautioned that “raw numbers … underestimate the actual risk of transmission,” given that COVID-19 can be transmitted by someone who has no symptoms and is not known to have the virus.
Even the University’s updated count of confirmed cases “should not be considered comprehensive, given that it is partly based on self-reporting to the university … and given the quickly changing nature of the COVID-19 spread,” Furr wrote.
He added that Stanford is “requiring” community members to report their COVID-19 tests to the University. Students should contact Dean of Students Mona Hicks, faculty and staff should contact their HR director or manager and postdoctoral students should alert the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, Furr wrote.
Those expected to come to campus to do their work should also report flu-like symptoms through the same channels, Furr wrote, and should stay home if they are sick.
The on-campus student confirmed to have coronavirus is currently self-isolating “in a single room with a private bathroom, with no interaction with nearby residents and no use of building common areas such as lounges or laundry rooms,” according to University protocol. Furr wrote that only “a very limited number of students” have self-isolated on campus.
“When we learn of confirmed student cases of COVID-19, our response includes tracing close contacts to advise them of steps they may need to take, ensuring there are connections to medical care and emotional health support, and providing for self-isolation for students living on campus,” he wrote.
March 28: This article has been updated to reflect that Stanford is aware of 29 faculty, staff, students or postdocs who have tested positive for COVID-19.