March 14, 2020
Dear Members of the Yale Community,
I write to inform you that a member of our community has tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) on a preliminary test, and we await confirmation. Another community member and a household contact are also undergoing diagnostic evaluation, and we await test results for these patients. All three patients are under the care of physicians at Yale New Haven Hospital. As you can imagine, this is a difficult time for these individuals and their families. If you are aware of these individuals, I urge you to respect their privacy and allow them to rest and recover. Now more than ever, we need to treat one another with care, understanding, and respect.
Yale New Haven Hospital is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and working with the state and local health departments, who are following their protocols for such cases. At the same time, we are working to trace these individuals’ steps and to communicate with their close contacts. We will provide guidance as soon as possible to those who have had close contact with confirmed patients ranging from self-monitoring for symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) to self-isolation at home with active monitoring for 14 days.
I remind you that we have asked community members to take important steps to implement social distancing. Please review that guidance at the university’s COVID-19 website. In addition, as you read in the email from Vice President Janet Lindner on Wednesday, we are asking staff to move to virtual meetings and for supervisors to arrange for staff to work from home where possible while maintaining university operations. These are key steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
Of course, the fact of these first cases has significant implications for the university. I have been in close touch with President Salovey, who is continuing to benefit from the advice of Yale experts who have helped guide the university’s ongoing response to COVID-19. The president will write to the community to give news of any new decisions affecting the university.
Anyone in the Yale community, including non-members of Yale Health, can call the Yale Health COVID-19 Hotline at 203-432-6604 to seek more information about symptoms or preventive measures. We strongly advise that you contact us if you have been in close contact with a COVID-19 patient.
I ask all community members to take these steps to monitor your health:
- Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever (100°F/37.8°C or higher).
- Watch for cough or trouble breathing.
Take these steps, if you get sick with fever (100°F/37.8°C or higher), cough frequently, or have trouble breathing:
- Avoid contact with others.
- Seek medical care by calling ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room.
- Report your symptoms as well as your recent travel history or any exposure to others who are unwell.
- If you need to seek medical care for other reasons, call ahead to your doctor and tell them about your recent travel to an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19 and about any exposure to a person with the illness.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Thank you for your resilience, patience, and partnership as we work to safeguard the health of our colleagues and students, and the well-being of those with whom we interact.
Dr. Paul Genecin
Director, Yale Health