This message was shared with the students, faculty, and staff of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa on July 31, 2020.
Aloha UH Mānoa ʻohana,
In response to recent false reports of positive COVID-19 cases on campus, I have an important request of our campus community members. Please do not take it upon yourself to notify others if you suspect someone has the COVID-19 virus. Two recent false reports of COVID-19 cases on our campus have caused unnecessary disruption and stress, especially upon those falsely identified. Notification must only be handled by the University Health Services Mānoa (UHSM) COVID-19 Resource Team, comprised of healthcare professionals, and/or the Hawaiʻi Department of Health. Only they can officially verify the information and initiate the universityʻs extensive protocols, which include notifying those who may have come into contact with a confirmed infected individual.
The Department of Health is responsible for the state’s pandemic response and is following a test-trace-isolate strategy, a widely accepted best practice in stopping the spread of the virus. This includes testing those who show symptoms or may have come into close contact with an infected person, isolating those who test positive, contacting everyone who may have been exposed, and continuing to test and isolate. If you have been in contact with someone who tests positive, you will be contacted by the Department of Health and/or the UHSM COVID-19 Resource Team.
If an employee or student tells you that they have COVID-19 or that they have been in close contact with someone who has it, refer them to the UHSM COVID-19 Resource Team at University Health Services Mānoa (808) 956-8965 or firstname.lastname@example.org). If you are legitimately concerned that the individual will not take appropriate action or if you suspect that someone has the virus, contact UHSM (808-956-8965 or email@example.com). Please remember that UH strictly follows all privacy and confidentiality laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and will not disclose any personal information.
It is important to remain calm and not engage in discussing the situation with others outside of the reporting chain. I know that everyone is coming from a place of care and concern for our public health, but we need to respect the privacy and dignity of the individual(s) involved. Referral to appropriate resources is the best action we can take for the health of our community.
These protocols were developed by the UH Mānoa Health and Well-Being Working Group, headed by the deans of the John A. Burns School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene.
Please remember to follow health and safety protocols: wear your face covering in public, practice physical distancing, wash your hands often, and stay home when you are sick. We all need to work together in order to keep our campus and community as safe as possible.
Me ke aloha,
UH Mānoa Provost