By Charmaine Lim, SBM Editor-in-Chief
The first case of COVID-19 at Messiah was confirmed on March 28, 2020.
For the privacy of the individual, their identity will remain confidential and their position unnamed. Students, staff and other faculty members are asked to respect this individual’s privacy during this time as they recover. If you are aware of the individual’s identity, please keep from revealing their identity so they can fully focus on recovery.
President Kim Phipps released a campus-wide email with the news, stating that “the individual is an employee who is in a higher health risk group. The employee who reported testing positive is currently under medical supervision in the hospital, and is receiving the care he needs.”
The employee was confirmed to have been on campus on March 18, 2020. Currently, their spouse, another employee of the College, is also symptomatic.
Anyone who had been in contact with this individual has been contacted by the Engle Center through email with the necessary steps to take. If anyone suspects that they are symptomatic, they are to contact the Engle Center immediately for testing. This allows Messiah to follow protocol and inform anyone who is potentially at risk.
Though this is the first case at Messiah, Cumberland and York county have already seen previous cases. As of a statewide briefing at noon on March 28, 2020, Cumberland has 22 cases, one death; and York has 37 cases.
Governor Wolf’s “Stay at home” order covers York County, but not Cumberland. Currently, 22 of PA’s 67’s counties are covered by that order. This applies to three-fourths of the state’s 12.8 million residents.
On March 27, 2020, Gov. Wolf revised the “Stay at home” order to include nine new counties.
“This order takes effect at 8:00 PM Friday, March 27, 2020, and will continue until April 6, 2020,” the article said.
In line with the “Stay at home” order, all non-essential businesses are to remain closed until the end of March. Restaurants and food service are allowed to provide take-out, but no dine-in options. Residents of PA are encouraged to minimize trips outside and maintain social distancing when outdoors. Any non-essential reasons for leaving the house are discouraged.
Students, faculty and staff everywhere should remain vigilant about social distancing and washing their hands. If you leave the house for any reason, all items that have been outside should be sanitized upon returning home. Clothing should be washed as soon as possible to minimize the chances of bringing the virus into the house.
If a student suspects that they are symptomatic or have previously come in contact with individuals infected with COVID-19, they can call the Engle Center at 717-691-6035 to discuss being tested. The Engle Center does have the supplies to test for COVID-19 according to CDC and PA Department of Health guidelines for screening.
“May we all continue to care for and support each other with Messiah’s proven spirit of gracious and generous Christian community,” Phipps said.