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Results in possible Hope College COVID-19 case expected this week

Ottawa Co. Health Dept. says the test results could be ready as early as Wednesday
Hope College Coronavirus Concerns on campus
Ottawa County Health Department Emergency Response Command Center
Posted at 3:43 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 20:44:36-04

HOLLAND, Mich. — Students and staff at Hope College may have to wait a few days to find out if a student who reported potential symptoms and possible contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 actually has the virus.

According to an email sent out to students on Monday, the student had gone to the campus health center with “minimal flu-like symptoms in combination with a possible off-campus exposure to COVID-19.”

The school says it then contacted the Ottawa County Health Department, which told them the student should be tested for the virus and isolated until results come back.

The president of Hope College, Matthew Scogin, released a video message Tuesday morning as a follow-up to Monday’s email. He says in part, “Just to be clear, this student has not been diagnosed with the virus but, rather, is being tested, as I said, simply out of an abundance of caution. And of course, we’ll share the test results with you as soon as we have them.”

In the video, President Scogin urges the Hope College community to process the news with a positive attitude.

“Let’s simply remember we are a people of hope. And that means we can and we should respond to this in a way that's different from the way that the rest of the world is responding to this right now,” Scogin says. “Because we are a people grounded in a true hope, a living hope — it means we can respond to this not out of fear or anxiety.”

Concerned students, staff and community members will have to wait at least a few days to find out the results of the test.

“It does take a little bit of time, since I know there are a lot of tests being conducted at this time. But we should expect those results as soon as tomorrow,” Kristina Wieghmink, communications director for the Ottawa County Health Department, told FOX 17 Tuesday afternoon.

The Centers for Disease Control just made the decision last week to allow testing to be done at a state level. The results expected back this week are part of one of the first batches being tested in Michigan.

Speaking with students on campus Tuesday, they were split on their feelings about the pending student case.

“People are definitely scared with the uncertainty. But yeah, people are confused, because even like professors are saying we don’t really know anything about anything that’s going on,” said student Joe Gray.

Some students said they would rather not hear every available update related to the virus. Student Mitch Gayler said, “It’s nice to know, but sometimes I wish they would keep it behind the scenes — just so not everyone gets all in a tizzy about it.”

Although most who we spoke to said they appreciated President Scogin taking precaution.

“I think that’s really good that he’s taking steps to isolate them, even if it isn’t the coronavirus. I think that’s really good of him to do,” said student Jenna Currier.

Visit the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ website for the latest information about how the State of Michigan is responding to the virus.