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This message was shared with the students, faculty, and staff of the 10-campus University of Hawaiʻi system on April 2, 2020.

Aloha UH community,

As the number of reported positive cases in Hawaiʻi increases, it has been inevitable that members of our community would eventually test positive. We have now received confirmation that two UH community members have tested positive for COVID-19.

Both are in good condition, in isolation at home and in regular contact with health care providers. We wish them both a speedy recovery.

The first case involves an employee at UH Maui College. The last time the individual was on campus was for a brief time on March 30 to pick up personal items. The employee practiced safe social distancing with the handful of employees that they came into contact with and did not come into contact with students. The last time the individual was on campus before March 30 was on March 19, the week of spring break, when classes were out.

The second case involves a graduate student at UH Mānoa. The last time the student was on campus was Saturday, March 14, the weekend spring break started, and was rarely on campus this semester. It is not known if the individual was infectious on March 14, now more than 14 days ago. However, this notice is being issued out of an abundance of caution.

The Hawaiʻi Department of Health (HDOH) is aware of both cases and has the lead responsibility for contact tracing. HDOH is working closely with UH and the individuals to reach anyone that may be at risk from close contact. Anyone who is notified should follow HDOH guidance. If they become ill, they should seek medical attention, contact HDOH and isolate themselves to prevent others from exposure.

The risk of transmission for the general UH community from both of these cases is considered to be low, especially given the health and safety measures the university has taken to protect our students, employees and the community by limiting the spread of COVID-19:

  • The 10-campus system announced March 12 the move to the online delivery of all courses beginning March 23 after the return from the weeklong spring break.
  • UH employees were instructed to work from home, if at all possible, beginning March 16
  • UH announced on March 20 that all campuses are closed to the public

For privacy reasons, and to abide by multiple federal and state laws, the university will not release the personal information of any student or employee. Information about any future confirmed cases within the UH community will be sent to those directly affected.

For more information about COVID-19, including what to do if you are sick or have symptoms, visit the UH COVID-19 resource website or the CDC resource page.

This global pandemic is one of the greatest challenges our society has faced in our lifetimes. The UH community continues to rise to the challenge each and every day. Please continue to take care of yourselves, your families and each other.

E mālama pono,
David Lassner
UH President

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