A student at Southwestern College in Winfield has tested positive for COVID-19, college officials announced in a release during the weekend.
The case was discovered through testing of all students, staff and faculty undertaken as they arrive on campus. The testing is part of the college’s fall semester plan.
The positive test result was received Saturday. This is the first COVID-19 case identified in the campus community, the release states.
“The individual who tested positive is in isolation, and is being cared for and supported,” dean of students Dan Falk said. “We are working in close coordination with public health and local care providers while also seeing to the needs of this member of our Builder family.
“We’ll do everything we can to help care for them as they recover and will work closely with our public health officials to fully address the risk of virus spread.”
Announcement of the SC case on Saturday was followed by the City of Winfield on Monday revealing that two of its workers had been infected.
Cowley County added 12 new cases over the weekend to reach 140 total. Active cases jumped to 53, up 10, according to the City-Cowley County Health Department.
There had been two deaths and 83 people are listed as recovered.
Campus testing began July 20, administered by nurses from William Newton Hospital. As of July 27, a total of 398 tests have been performed. Results from 334 tests have been returned, with 333 negatives and one positive. Results are pending for the remaining tests.
Residential students who test positive will be isolated in designated on-campus housing, the release states. A college care team is in place to deliver meals, help with transportation to health care, and to check on the student’s emotional well-being while in isolation.
“When we decided to test our whole campus community we knew it was probable that we would identify cases and we made preparations based on that assumption — but we also knew that identifying positive cases as early as possible, isolating those individuals and caring for them, while working with public health officials to address all the different components of the situation, would best position us to keep our campus community safe from spread of the virus,” college president Brad Andrews said.
The college is taking other safety precautions along with the testing at check-in. Those include a required pre-semester quarantine of all students, staff and faculty; the wearing of masks on campus; restrictions on both social gatherings and travel; and bringing residential students back to campus in phases.
Even though a student has tested positive, the check-in process is continuing as planned, Southwestern spokesperson Kaydee Riggs-Johnson said on Monday.
“One important component of our plan was to bring students back to campus early, allowing time to test for the virus before classes and modified activities begin — in doing so we are working to eliminate as many pathways for the virus as possible,” Andrews said.