Dear Members of the Whitman Community,

I am writing to let you know that a Whitman staff member who has been working on campus has tested positive for coronavirus. The staff member is asymptomatic and is now self-isolating in an off-campus residence.

After a positive test, the Walla Walla County Department of Health begins their contact-tracing investigation, tracking all the people the patient had close contact with. The college is also looking into any locations on campus that the patient may have frequented and will take extra steps in sanitizing those areas.

If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, the CDC recommends that you self-isolate for 14 days and monitor your health for symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath).  It is important that you stay out of all public places and maintain a distance of 6 feet from others.

This news may be alarming to many of you.  It emphasizes the importance of limiting contact with others, limiting travel, wearing facial coverings if you do go out, practicing social distancing and washing your hands thoroughly and often. Those are still the best ways to keep yourself healthy.

The first case in our own community is a stark reminder that we are all vulnerable – even those who are in an age group that has not been labeled as high risk. Now more than ever it is important that we take care of each other and do not take any unnecessary risks.

President Kathy Murray