The first member of the Barnard community has tested positive for coronavirus, Barnard President Sian Beilock confirmed in an email Wednesday night. The announcement added that the community “will continue to see a growing number of COVID-19 cases in the Barnard and Columbia community.”
The news comes as the number of confirmed cases in New York state has climbed to above 2,300, almost 1,900 of which are in New York City. According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the drastic increase in confirmed cases can be attributed to more widespread testing in the state. The outbreak in the city now qualifies as community spread, as a number of those infected have had no known contact with infected individuals, thus indicating that the actual number of cases is likely higher than the numbers confirmed through testing.
Cuomo has issued a number of ordinances to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including his recent declaration that businesses may not require more than half their employees to leave home and report to work.
On March 12, Columbia and Barnard students were first asked to vacate their on-campus housing assignments by March 30. But following the first positive COVID-19 test of a Columbia affiliate on Sunday, Columbia students who did not have exigent circumstances were told to evacuate by Tuesday, leaving many in a flurry to move out of their dormitories by that date.
Directly following Beilock’s first announcement, she sent out another email to all students who had not reported an explicit decision to leave campus, once again urging all those who can leave campus to do so and those staying to take extra precautions.