Eastern Idaho Public Health officials have confirmed that a Brigham Young University-Idaho student tested positive for COVID-19. The young man traveled to an infected area early this month.
After he returned, he immediately quarantined himself and contacted health officials. The patient tested positive days later.
Geri Rackow, Eastern Idaho Public Health director, said the man traveled in his vehicle but would not disclose where he went or how long he was there.
“The patient became symptomatic on Sunday, March 8 while he was still out of our state. He returned to Rexburg on March 11 and remained at home until seeking medical attention on March 12,” She said. “At that time he was tested for COVID-19 and after the test, he was asked to stay at home until the test results were available. He will continue to be in isolation and monitored by Eastern Idaho Public Health.”
Rackow said health officials are investigating the incident and are closely monitoring those around the young man. She said anyone who may be affected by this individual will be notified and they will provide testing if it is deemed appropriate.
“Unless you are contacted by Eastern Idaho Public Health you are not at increased risk for exposure to this individual and do not need to seek testing,” she said.
Rackow said health officials expected that these cases would increase within the state and they’ve been preparing since January for that eventuality. When asked about the number of testing kits available Rackow said that the reality is: not everyone is going to be tested even if they want to be. Rackow said she knows that fact will be frustrating for many.
Eastern Idaho Public Health will continue to update the public on the topic nearly daily on its website and through press releases. Rackow said they will continue to post the number of confirmed cases by county, within eastern Idaho, on the website.
BYU-Idaho Marketing Director and Community Liaison Brett Sampson could not say how many students have been tested for the virus and likewise couldn’t confirm if any students are being tested at this time. He also could not provide how many students have left since the initial announcement about courses moving online. He did say that the campus seemed quieter. Classes at the university will continue online for the rest of the semester.
“BYU-Idaho cares deeply about the health and well-being of all, and is taking all recommended measures, in accordance with guidelines from church, government, and public health officials,” a BYU-Idaho press release said. “The university has made and continues to take proactive steps to minimize student and employee exposure to COVID-19. Student Health Center personnel continue to follow proper protocol.”