8.19.20: Notification of COVID-19 Results

A message sent to the campus community and Lehigh families. 

Dear Members of the Campus Community and Lehigh Families, 

As we open the University for the fall semester, we continue to track COVID-19 cases. The pre-arrival and arrival testing program is underway. These tests are being conducted with the aim of identifying students who are infected with COVID-19, but who may be asymptomatic, to delay their arrival until after their infectious period. To date, seven students have tested positive for COVID-19 as part of our pre-arrival testing program. Of these students, all are currently isolating at home, have been contacted by the Lehigh University Health and Wellness Center (HWC), and are under the appropriate care. None of these students came to campus.

In addition, the Health and Wellness Center has been made aware of, and has been in contact with, two students living off campus who have tested positive for COVID-19. Neither of these students has been on campus. The HWC is working with the Bethlehem Health Bureau to coordinate contact tracing and to provide support and guidance for these students.

For privacy reasons, we will not release personally identifiable information for those who test positive for COVID-19. However, contact tracing will be initiated immediately and anyone who has been in close contact with someone who tested positive will be contacted. For purposes of contact tracing, close contact is defined as having been within six feet of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time (longer than 15 minutes). 

For the health and safety of our community, it is essential that any Lehigh student who is living on or near campus in the surrounding community who has been tested for COVID-19 or who has a positive test for COVID-19 must notify the HWC immediately (610-758-3870). We cannot emphasize this strongly enough.

We know there will be questions about any positive COVID tests among those living or working in our community. A Lehigh COVID-19 Dashboard has been established and will be updated with new case information during the fall semester and as on-site testing progresses and results are provided.

The COVID Information hotline has been temporarily reestablished for inquiries related to this information. Call 610-758-1500 to speak with a Lehigh staff member during the following hours:

  • Wednesday, August 19: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. EDT
  • Thursday, August 20: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT
  • Friday, August 21: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT

The first round of tests were conducted via Vault Health at-home test kits mailed to those who would be living on campus and student-athletes participating in athletic activity. Another round of on-site testing began today, August 19. Read more about who is required to get tested before accessing campus facilities. No student for whom testing is required may access any campus facility or attend any in-person class until receiving their first of two negative test results. Test results will typically be available 3-4 days after completing the test.

All positive COVID-19 cases for students, faculty, staff or contractors are investigated to determine if there is a wider campus or community safety issue. If so, an alert to appropriate groups or a campus-wide alert will be issued. Read about our protocol on the dedicated dashboard page.

Important Reminders:

As a campus community, together we must take proactive measures to reduce the potential for community spread of COVID-19 on our campus and in our communities. This requires all of us to take responsibility for mitigating risk through behaviors that we know promote our health, wellness and safety.

Sincerely,

COVID-19 Response Team