HSU on-campus student tests positive for COVID-19

Public health officials confirm that a Humboldt State University student who recently moved into campus housing tested positive for COVID-19 and said it is the first confirmed case connected to HSU. 

A campus-wide email notification sent on Monday, Aug 17 said the individual is asymptomatic and has been moved to a room set aside for isolation. 

“The university will be conducting frequent health and wellness checks with the student, as well as providing meal delivery and other necessities,” the email said.

HSU students, who began moving in on Saturday, Aug. 15, were required to test for COVID-19 and will be tested three times during the course of a 14-day quarantine period, according to the email notification.

Haley Skinner, liberal studies major, was not surprised when she received the email notification. She is living on campus for the fall 2020 semester.

“It was going to happen,” she said. “And that’s why they did the 14 quarantine days.” 

She believes people may contract COVID-19 after the 14-day quarantine, but that it’s good to get into the quarantine habit. 

Anita Marsell, who traveled from Los Angeles to help move her daughter Megan Marsell, a criminology and justice studies major, into the dorms, said that they do not have any fears and feel safer from COVID-19 in Humboldt County.

Anita Marsell said she is “not afraid of the coronavirus whatsoever” and had no issues with her daughter moving into HSU. 

“It happens. From what I’ve been observing… everybody’s very courteous,” Anita Marsell said. “I haven’t seen any issues at all as far as people getting into another person’s space. Everybody is very self-aware and abiding to all the rules here.”

Megan Marsell said her COVID-19 test was slightly uncomfortable but was a quick process and worth getting done. 

“I don’t really feel that scared or anything on campus for the coronavirus because I feel like everyone’s doing an amazing job at making sure everyone abides by the rules,” Megan Marsell said.

Skinner and Megan Marsell’s classes are all being held online for fall 2020.

“I understand why everything is online and I’m just grateful that I get to come back,” Skinner said.

The email said HSU is working closely with Humboldt County Public Health, which will determine whether there are members of the campus community that need to be advised of their contact with the student who tested positive.

According to an article by the North Coast Journal, Health Officer Teresa Frankovich had some concerns over increasing case rates, clusters and COVID-19 testing capacity and advised HSU that “on-site instruction cannot be accomplished safely at this moment in time.”

Students may opt to be tested at the Student Health Center and all students showing symptoms will be tested, the email said. Going forward, the university will provide information about any new cases by the end of each day.

Faculty, staff and students are expected to commit to keeping others and themselves safe by adhering to the Social Responsibility Commitment

The commitment includes a 14-day self-quarantine upon arriving to Humboldt County, wearing face coverings, physical distancing and hand-washing frequently.  The full email notification can be read here.

CORRECTION: The original photo was taken down and replaced for clarification purposes. The two people in the original photo were unidentified and not linked to the story.

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