USC will no longer send community-wide notification about new COVID-19 cases

The university will take an “individualized approach” to notify people who have exposure risks.

USC will no longer notify the entire community about new COVID-19 cases, Chief Health Officer Sarah Van Orman said in a press briefing via Zoom Friday.

"We are not going to provide routine updates on case counts," she said.

Previously, 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 explained that as USC community members are in different places of the country and the globe now, they do not have a reason to let the university know if they test positive for COVID-19.

She adds that the university will take an "individualized approach" to notify people who have exposure risks.

“Our responsibility or our approach is when there is a student, faculty or staff member who lets us know they have tested positive and they have been present in the USC community during the time they may have been contagious, we work very closely with local public health and that individual to determine people, places and spaces where they might have been,” she said. “We let those people know.”

There will be "many members of [USC] community test positive" over the coming days to weeks because infections are spreading, according to Van Orman.

“We want to make sure we are providing accurate information,” she said. “The accurate information we can provide is when we know that someone has been to the community, we want to provide that information to the people that need to know it.”

Van Orman said she does not know the current number of USC community members who have tested positive for COVID-19.

There are 1,006 positive cases and 19 deaths from the novel coronavirus in California, as of March 19, according to the California Department of Public Health.