UPDATE: MU students attend conference where attendee tested positive for COVID-19

4 weeks 3 hours 40 minutes ago Wednesday, March 11 2020 Mar 11, 2020 Wednesday, March 11, 2020 6:45:00 PM CDT March 11, 2020 in News
By: Wiliam Skipworth, Columbia Missourian, Melody Cox, KOMU 8 Digital Producer & Marisa Rios, KOMU 8 News Reporter
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COLUMBIA - A person who attended NICAR20, an investigative journalism conference in New Orleans this past weekend, has tested positive for COVID-19. More than two dozen MU students and faculty from the School of Journalism attended the conference.

The student who tested positive is not an MU student.

Investigative Reporters & Editors issued a statement confirming the positive test Tuesday night. It said the person with the illness has mild symptoms and is expected to make a full recovery. The Centers for Disease Control still has to confirm the test, so, for now, it is considered presumptive positive. 

The attendee is self-quarantined at home for 14 days and is reaching out to people the person came into close contact with during the conference, at the recommendation of health professionals.

There have been no confirmed cases in Columbia.

MU professor Mark Horvit is one of the faculty members under isolation and said they took immediate action when they found out about the case.

"The minute we had any information at all, we were all on the phone last night," Horvit said. "I talked to so many people last night and we and put plans in place the minute we had any information."

MU student Kelly Kenoyer said she is okay with isolation for certain reasons.

"I'm more worried about protecting other people in the community," Kenoyer said. "I'm worried about my elderly neighbor getting it from me or something. I've been pretty careful as far as infecting other people."

Kenoyer received an email Wednesday morning, stating any conference attendees who had close contact with the person testing presumptively positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate for 14 days following the last day of exposure.

MU spokesperson Christian Basi said he is working with public health officials and MU Health Care, seeing who will need to be tested. He said the tests will happen this week.

MU Health Care said that there are no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 at MU Health Care. The hospital has tested more than 10 patients for the virus, but a spokesperson said he could not comment on whether the results of any of those tests are outstanding.

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