Responding to a Cluster of COVID Cases

October 13, 2020

Dear Members of the Yale Community,

I am writing to make you aware that, through our COVID-19 testing program, we have identified a small cluster of cases among undergraduates, and to share with you the steps we are taking to address this situation. I am not writing to raise alarm, but rather because this situation serves as a reminder that the virus is present in our community, and we need to continue to rigorously follow all of our health and safety measures.

Certain health data collected in the course of Yale’s COVID-related programs are subject to federal and state privacy regulations. Accordingly, while I intend to provide helpful information in the summary that follows, I must at the same time adhere to these regulations and protect the privacy of individual community members.

Over the past 24 hours, the university has learned of six positive cases of COVID-19 among students, living on and off campus, who are members of the same varsity athletic team. These cases were identified through our twice-weekly screening program, and the university’s testing and tracing team acted quickly upon receiving the positive test results–isolating the infected individuals and initiating contact tracing to identify and quarantine their close contacts. While we continue to watch carefully for any further developments and investigate the possible sources of the outbreak, the university has implemented a number of additional cautionary measures:

  • All members of the affected team who are presently in New Haven, as well as the Athletics staff who work directly with them, have been asked to quarantine and participate in the testing program, whether or not they are identified as close contacts through the contact tracing program;
  • All varsity athletic teams and intramural programs will cease in-person training activities for at least the coming week; and
  • Certain athletic facilities, including Payne Whitney Gymnasium, Ingalls Rink, and the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center, will be closed for cleaning until Monday, October 19, 2020.

If we learn more about the origins and evolution of this situation, I will keep you informed of any information that is important to the community’s health and well-being.  In the meantime, please remember that our Campus COVID Resource Line (203-432-6604) is available to anyone who has questions or concerns.

We have now passed the halfway point of our fall semester. In order to finish as strongly as we started, we must remain vigilant and continue to observe all health and safety measures. Thank you all for your sustained commitment and partnership.

Sincerely,

Stephanie S. Spangler, M.D.
Vice Provost for Health Affairs and Academic Integrity
Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences
University COVID-19 Coordinator