The following is a letter by Andrews University president Andrea Luxton released on Saturday, March 21, 2020, to the faculty, staff, students, and residents of the Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States educational institution.—Adventist Review Editors
As a follow-up to the Berrien County Health Department investigation and testing this week related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were notified earlier today that two members of our Andrews University community have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
Both of those individuals were previously in self-isolation and are receiving medical care at home.
Earlier this afternoon, the Berrien County Health Department and Spectrum Health Lakeland issued a press release on these diagnoses, which included these details:
The Berrien County Health Department has identified the first two positive cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Berrien County.
The positive persons are both adult women under the age of sixty years old; they have both been self-isolating at home for several days, and they are in good condition. Both of these individuals had close personal contact with singer Sandi Patty when she performed a concert at Andrews University in Berrien Springs on March 8, 2020. Since the concert, Ms. Patty announced that she had tested positive for COVID-19 on March 17, 2020.
The Berrien County Health Department and Andrews University are communicating directly with the people who had been in close contact with the individuals who have tested positive. All close contacts of the COVID-19 positive individuals will be asked to self-quarantine and will be assessed for symptoms and monitored appropriately. The Berrien County Health Department is also advising anyone who attended the March 8 Sandi Patty concert and had close personal contact with Ms. Patty to self-quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath through March 22, 2020. Any individuals who experienced or are still experiencing symptoms are asked to call the Berrien County Health Department hotline at 1-800-815-5485.
You can read the complete release here. Please note that in accordance with HIPAA privacy guidelines, Andrews University will not share the names or personal details of these individuals.
In an effort to reduce the risk of exposure, the University administration is continuing to take steps to ensure that our campus family can do its part to reduce the risk of infection and minimize the spread of illness. Those steps include encouraging employees to work from home, closing the majority of buildings to public access, and modifying food service according to Bon Appetit guidelines. We will continue to keep our Andrews community updated.
Andrews University will also continue to work to fully support our Andrews University community members who have received this diagnosis.
In turn, we will also work directly with the Berrien County Health Department and Spectrum Health Lakeland to understand how these diagnoses affect the continued operations of our University in the immediate future. Additional changes and guidelines for University operations will continue to come and be informed by Berrien County Health Department and state and federal guidelines.
In closing, we offer continued prayers for our two colleagues and for those who are directly impacted by today’s news. We invite your prayers, as well, for our Andrews University community, country, and world.
We pray for God’s answers and peace, especially amidst these challenging times.