2 Dartmouth undergrads test positive for Covid-19

Published: Sep. 11, 2020 at 5:15 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 11, 2020 at 5:56 PM EDT
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HANOVER, NH. (WCAX) - Dartmouth College says two students have tested positive for COVID-19 since arriving this week, but officials say that shows their testing is working.

According to the latest numbers, more than 3,100 faculty, staff, and students at Dartmouth have been tested for the coronavirus. Friday, the college confirmed that two undergraduates have tested positive.

“Yeah, it definitely makes me feel a lot better knowing that I am negative,” said Neelufar Raja, a senior at the Big Green. She says she’s not too concerned that two of her peers have tested positive for COVID-19, considering far-flung places returning students are returning from. "I am not entirely surprised since there is such a large population of students coming back.”

Raja has been tested three times so far. Twice since arriving on campus and a pre-arrival saliva test she took from home before heading to Hanover.

“I think it is important to emphasize that our testing program is doing everything that we hoped and anticipated it would do,” said Dr. Lisa Adams, the co-chair of Dartmouth’s Coronavirus Task Force, which was set up to identify cases early, isolate the infected people, and get them any necessary care. She says both students had little to no symptoms. “One of those two cases has already completed their isolation period, able to leave isolation and is considered a recovered case.”

The two cases are not connected to the recent party at the Tuck Business School, which is also on campus. That gathering violated campus rules, but so far no students have tested positive connected to that incident.

Raja says she hopes the college will continue to enforce its strict guidelines around social distancing and large gatherings. “I think there has to be a mutual trust between the administration as well as the students, and I feel like everyone will want to act in good faith so we are able to come and stay on campus,” she said.

It’s not just the health of the students that’s on the line, but also the entire Upper Valley community. It’s one reason college officials say they are trying to be as transparent as possible when it comes to its response to the virus. “I hope that we can continue that partnership with the community because we are all in this together,” Adams said.

Along with the two positive cases, an additional five people are in isolation due to COVID-like symptoms. Testing continued all day Friday.

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