University of Lynchburg staff member tests positive for coronavirus, officials say


(Image: Courtesy University of Lynchburg)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The University of Lynchburg announced Monday a staff member is receiving treatment and self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19.

In a letter released by the university on Monday, July 27, University of Lynchburg President Kenneth R. Garren and President-elect Alison Morrison-Shetlar confirmed a staff member received a presumptive positive test result and is receiving off-campus medical care while close contacts will be tested if necessary.

According to university officials, the staff member told administrators about the test result, but that person said he/she did not think the exposure happened on campus and that he/she has been following the school’s face covering and safety protocols.

“We are appreciative that this individual has taken the appropriate actions to self-identify and self-isolate,” Garren and Morrison-Shetlar said in Monday’s statement. “Consequently, the risk to the campus community should be minimal.”

For the sake of anonymity, the university asks those who know the identity of the infected staff member to keep that information to themselves.

“The last thing they need — or any of us would want for them — is public attention and scrutiny. Instead, please show compassion, do your part to mitigate your risk of infection, and remain vigilant in social distancing, wearing face masks, washing hands often, using hand sanitizer, avoiding touching your face, and staying home when sick,” the University of Lynchburg leaders wrote.

Based on the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), both university and health officials are taking steps to notify members of the community who may have come in contact with the infected staff member.

The University of Lynchburg says the Commonwealth mandated all employees be notified within 24 hours if a co-worker tests positive for the virus. In addition, any employees who are confirmed or probably COVID-19 patients are reportedly not allowed return to work until a health care provider releases them from isolation.

“This week’s confirmed case gives our opening efforts even greater urgency,” Garren and Morrison-Shetlar wrote in Monday’s letter. “In every corner of the University, faculty and staff are working tirelessly to provide guidance and resources, to share the latest information, and to make decisions with a single end in mind — ensuring the safety of every member of our community.”

Members of the University of Lynchburg community are asked to follow the practical and effective guidelines listed in the school’s Fall Reopening Plans. In addition, members of the Hornet community are encouraged to speak with their supervisor, contact the university task force, or take advantage of Therapy Assistance Online if they feel stressed or anxious amid the uncertainty of the pandemic.

For more updates related to the university’s response to this positive diagnosis — as well as any other elements of the coronavirus — you can check the University of Lynchburg’s COVID-19 webpage.

To read Monday’s full message from the University of Lynchburg, click here.

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