To the members of the MIT community:
I am writing to inform you that we learned yesterday that a member of our MIT community has tested positive for COVID-19.
A student who left campus and returned home notified MIT administrators that they tested positive for the virus several days later, on March 19. MIT Medical is currently conducting a public health investigation, which includes conversations with the individual, following up with people in the individual’s circle as warranted, exchanging information with public health officials, assessing the likelihood of further spread, ongoing monitoring, and other steps.
To date, no other potential case in our community has been associated with this individual. The individual is receiving care and is responding well.
We are not sharing any further details out of respect for the student’s medical privacy. As in all cases, public health officials are in charge of deciding whether to investigate possible contacts. If you are not contacted by MIT Medical or the Cambridge Department of Public Health, you are not presumed to be at immediate risk.
We should all be prepared for the growth of cases among members of our community in the days and weeks ahead, however. Cases continue to rise both locally and around the globe, and our MIT community will be affected, including people we know and care about personally.
As we shift to that reality, it’s important that we take seriously our responsibility to follow public health guidelines that will help prevent spread, and at the same time exhibit care and support for those who become infected. As always, we will provide the best medical care possible to members of our community who become sick, while protecting their right to health privacy.
In that spirit, given the likelihood that cases in our community will increase, we will keep a tally of known positive cases within the MIT community at medical.mit.edu, but we will not send campus-wide notices about positive cases unless there is reason to do so. We will link to the medical updates page in the MIT Daily.
The important news is that MIT is prepared. MIT Medical has restructured our operations to prepare for large numbers of sick patients, should that day come. Most importantly, our community has embraced the concept of social distancing.
Please continue to do everything you can to stay healthy: Wash your hands frequently. Wipe down surfaces. Avoid touching your face whenever possible. Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm and elbow. Remember that social distancing remains the key strategy in our community response.
If you are concerned about any health symptoms you may be experiencing, contact your personal health care provider at the earliest opportunity. Even if you do not usually get medical care at MIT Medical, we ask you to let us know if you are being tested or have tested positive for COVID-19 by dialing 617-253-4865, as this will help us to better understand the impact of the virus on our MIT community. We also ask you to continue to follow the Institute’s guidance at mit.edu/covid19.
Cecilia Stuopis, M.D.