Livingstone College student is county’s first positive COVID-19 case

Published 8:16 pm Thursday, March 19, 2020

By Shavonne Potts

SALISBURY — A Livingstone College student has been identified by college and county officials as having tested positive for the coronavirus disease COVID-19.

A letter from Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins said the student is doing well and self-isolating at home in accordance with guidelines set by the state health department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Jenkins said the college will completely shut down the campus on Monday. It had previously shifted classes online.

Jenkins said the college is working with the Rowan County Health Department to determine others who may have been exposed to the student who tested positive.

“As we seek to maintain a healthy living-learning environment, I am prepared to shut down the campus beginning Monday, March 23, through Tuesday, April 14, 2020, thus enabling the campus community to self-quarantine at home,” Jenkins said in the letter. “Please keep us in your prayers as we navigate these very turbulent waters.”

The student is the same case that the Rowan County Health Department released details about earlier on Thursday, said Rowan County Emergency Services Battalion Chief Chris Richardson.

Jenkins said the college is working with, “ABM, our Physical Plant managers, who will prepare the campus for the return of our campus family.”

“Also, I have instructed my senior leadership team to develop remote operation plans to ensure that we continue essential campus operations during these very challenging and uncertain times,” Jenkins said.

He called the situation unfortunate and said students must keep in mind that Livingstone College does not exist in isolation.

“We execute our mission in a global context as we are exposed to contagions that compromise our capacity to serve our current population,” he said.

County officials said the student followed instructions, self-isolated, is no longer ill and no longer in the area.

Richardson said the student was tested at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center. Richardson would only say the student lives out of state. The student chose to travel home.

The health department in the county of residence was contacted and will be monitoring the status of that individual, Richardson said.

When asked about whether the student may have inadvertently come into contact with anyone, Richardson said Rowan County Health Department officials have surveillance operations in place to address that.

“We continue to monitor this rapidly changing situation. We are participating in conference calls to receive updated information,” Richardson said.

He said officials are also holding conference calls to ensure they are keeping community leaders aware of things that affect the community locally.

The Public Health Department and Emergency Management continue planning efforts to ensure they remain available to assist citizens, he said.