In a March 24 statement Andrews University President Andrea Luxton shared that there are three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the community: two employees and a graduate student. The names of the individuals have not been released but all are reported to be in good condition.
The first two cases were identified in connection with a concert performed by the singer Sandi Patty on March 8 at the Howard Performing Arts Center on the campus of Andrews University. On March 17, Patty announced she had tested positive for COVID-19. A March 18 press release from the Berrien County Health Department, which was emailed to the Andrews community, announced the potential exposure to concert attendees and urged anyone “that had close personal contact with Ms. Patty at any time during her visit on Andrews University’s campus” to “self-quarantine at home and monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath through March 22nd.” Attendees were told to contact the Health Department if symptoms developed.
A March 21 press release from the Health Department announced the first two positive cases of COVID-19 in the county, both attendees of the concert. The statement identified the individuals as “adult women under the age of sixty years old” and said both have been “self-isolating at home for several days and they are in good condition.” Both individuals had “close personal contact” with Sandi Patty. That same day, an email from Andrews was sent to the community stating, “we were notified earlier today that two members of our Andrews University community have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.” The email went on to state that the press release from the Health Department earlier that day was “related to these diagnoses.”
By March 23 the total number of confirmed cases was up to five in the county, including the spouse of one of the women who tested positive after contact with Sandi Patty. All three of the newly confirmed cases were identified as adult males over the age of 60. It is unclear whether the spouse mentioned in the Health Department press release is the same person identified as a grad student in the Andrews University statement. When asked for clarification, Stephen Payne, Special Assistant to the President for University & Public Affairs, responded, “HIPAA regulations prevent us from commenting any further on the specifics of who were/are confirmed cases beyond what the Health Department has shared publicly.”
Payne went on to state that all three Andrews community members received “medical care and followed self-isolation/quarantine timelines, and best of all, all are doing well and did not spend any time hospitalized. Following their recovery, all three individuals have also now been cleared by the Berrien County Health Department.”
He added that to date, “these remain the only three confirmed cases on our campus — although I think as we all follow the realities and pervasive impact of COVID-19 on our society, there likely can and will be more cases in the future.”
Andrews University’s resources and statements regarding the pandemic are available at andrews.edu/go/covid19.
The Berrien County Health Department’s press releases are available here. As of this writing, according to the Health Department website, there are 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Berrien County and zero deaths. In the State of Michigan, there are currently 2,856 confirmed cases and 60 deaths.
Alisa Williams is managing editor of SpectrumMagazine.org
Image courtesy of Andrews.edu.
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