Private Company Employee in UCSB Nanotech Lab Tests Positive for COVID-19

Patient Is in Voluntary Isolation, Proximity to Others at Lab Being Determined

On Saturday, UC Santa Barbara confirmed that an employee of a private company who recently accessed a university lab tested positive for coronavirus. The employee was conducting approved essential research at the university’s nanofabrication facility in the Engineering Sciences Building and had visited the facility on April 8 and 9. 

According to a university announcement, the employee followed the facility’s safety and health protocols, including wearing a gown, face mask, and gloves. Furthermore, all facility workers have been practicing social distancing within the building as recommended by the California Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control.

The employee began experiencing symptoms on April 10 and immediately reported their case to their company. The individual has not returned to campus and is in self-isolation.

In response to the case, the university has assured its community that it “is working closely with public health officials to determine whether there are members of the campus community who need to be advised about their contact with this person.” Public Health officials declined to give details on symptomology or contact tracing, citing medical privacy rules.

In addition to emphasizing individual actions community members can take, such as social distancing and vigorous hand washing, the university is encouraging its community members to have plans in case they get sick. A plan includes how one will isolate themselves and who one will contact if symptoms develop. “Stay calm,” administrators wrote. “We understand this is a stressful situation for everybody, but remember that we can work together to get this pandemic under control.”

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