Recent Developments Regarding COVID-19
Information about COVID-19 guidelines and protocols at Brandeis has changed frequently as public health guidance has changed; please be aware that the information in this letter may be outdated. For the latest information, please visit the COVID-19 Response website.
March 8, 2020
Brandeis has become aware of some recent developments related to coronavirus/COVID-19 in Massachusetts that we want to share with you for your information. At this time, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (Mass DPH) continues to evaluate the current risk to Massachusetts residents as low. As of this writing, there are 12 presumptive cases of coronavirus in Massachusetts (meaning that Mass DPH has obtained a positive test) and one case confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
On Friday, a resident of the town of Wellesley tested positive with Mass DPH for COVID-19. The Boston Globe reports the resident is the parent of two children who attend different schools. Those two schools were closed in order to clean them. While the town of Wellesley is nearby, there are no current cases among Brandeis students, faculty, or staff at this time.
Some Brandeis students recently attended an out-of-state conference. Conference organizers have notified these students that two attendees (out of thousands of attendees) have subsequently tested positive for coronavirus. This is considered, cautiously, by Mass DPH as a potential low-risk exposure for conference attendees. The university is in communication with the Brandeis students who attended that conference and is providing guidance consistent with CDC recommendations.
Two representatives from biotech company Biogen were on campus this week to talk about a post-graduate fellowship offered by the company. Five Massachusetts residents and three people from out of state who attended a Biogen management meeting at a Boston hotel at the end of last month have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Boston Globe story. Mass DPH has not shared any concerns with us related to the Biogen representatives who came to campus; if they do, we will notify students who met with them about any appropriate actions. We wanted to make you aware of this visit because Biogen has been in the news and we want you to have accurate information.
We are sharing this with you in the interest of being as transparent as possible. The health news outlet STAT recently published an article based on the growing body of information about the illness that may be helpful in considering your own risk from the virus. We will continue to update our community regularly with information and action steps as needed, and the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Task Force is continuing to stay on top of developments. Please remember to follow standard hygiene precautions and to visit the Health Center's Coronavirus/COVID-19 FAQs for information.