One confirmed case of COVID-19 has been reported in the University Park community, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Many USC students live in the University Park area, which contains the university’s UPC campus and the northern neighborhood. It’s unclear whether the individual who tested positive for the coronavirus is a member of the USC community.
Annenberg Media reached out to USC Chief Health Officer Sarah Van Orman on Saturday for questions related to this individual’s affiliation with the university and the person’s contact tracing. Annenberg Media has not received answers yet and will update this story if it obtains them.
USC has not notified the community about the case. The university is no longer providing community-wide “routine updates on case counts” for COVID-19, Van Orman said on March 20. Instead, the university will take an “individualized approach” to determine and notify people who have exposure risks.
“Notifications will be targeted to individuals and groups that may need to alter their daily arrangements in order to care for their health; or take additional preventative measures to protect the health of others,” she reiterated in an email to the USC community on March 22.
In the community-wide email Sunday night, Van Orman did not mention the specific case reported in University Park, but she said there will be more positive test results.
“With the increase in testing across the country, we can expect many positive test results in addition to the positive case identified last week, or presumptive positive cases,” she wrote.
On March 15, USC reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19 in a community-wide email. The individual was a USC undergraduate student who recently returned from international travel and arrived directly in Orange County, according to Van Orman.
On March 16, a caregiver at Keck Medical Center of USC tested presumptively positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a university-wide email sent by the Department of Public Safety.
Van Orman said in her Sunday email that dozens of people were tested at USC and elsewhere over the past weeks, and the university expects the number to go into the hundreds with increasing testing availability.
She did not provide the number of people who tested positive, but she wrote that “all of the presumed positive cases of USC students, at this point in time, are related to return from international travel.”
In the email, Van Orman acknowledged increasing community spread and again emphasized the importance of social distancing measures.
Van Orman announced on March 16 that USC’s testing availability for COVID-19 would be expanded to “people who have symptoms," not limited by their travel history or risk exposure.
For USC members who test positive, USC Student Health will work with the individual to contact locations and people in the community who have exposure risks, according to the email sent out Sunday. Individuals who may have been exposed will be advised to self-isolate for 14 days. USC campus locations considered as “a risk for contact exposure” by USC Environmental Health and Safety will be closed for “extensive cleaning.”
“If those locations are USC facilities that are accessible to the public, a broader communication with public health guidance will be issued to the community,” the email stated.
As of March 22, there are 409 confirmed cases for COVID-19 and five deaths in Los Angeles County, according to the LADPH.
USC Student Health is asking students who have respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, congestion, sore throat) to make a phone or TeleHealth appointment through the student health record portal, MySHR. If students’ symptoms are consistent with COVID-19, they will be tested in the tented area outside of the Engemann Building.