UNLV president Marta Meana announced Thursday that within the last 24 hours two university employees have tested positive for coronavirus. These are the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 at UNLV.
“We knew this day would come as the number of cases continues to grow in Nevada and across the nation,” wrote Meana in a statement.
The first employee notified the university after they tested positive in another state, and is currently self-isolating and receiving care. The employee has largely been working remotely for “an extended period of time” and was last on campus March 10. Based on information from the employee, they did not have contact with anyone on campus during that time.
The second employee tested positive for the virus after traveling out of state for university business early this month and was last on campus March 11, and has since been self-isolating at home. The individual has reached out to everyone they came into contact with and the Southern Nevada Health District is aware of the case.
Both employees are following protocols set by state health officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). UNLV is likewise coordinating closely with the Southern Nevada Health District to ensure the university is taking the proper measures.
As of Thursday afternoon, there have been 321 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nevada, including 6 deaths statewide.
“We understand this may increase concern and anxiety for the members of our university community. The best thing we can do right now is to continue to follow protocols for prevention, maintain social distancing, seek medical care when it is needed, and care for ourselves and care for each other,” wote Meana.
In light of the increase in cases of COVID-19 in Nevada, the UNLV president also announced Thursday that remote instruction will be imposed for the remainder of the semester in an email to students.
The 2020 Spring Commencement will also be postponed until sometime later in the year, wrote Meana in the email to students. While a timeline was not provided it will likely be held at “a period sometime late summer or in the fall.”
“There is simply no scenario in which it would be safe to convene thousands of you at the Thomas & Mack as early as May. I know how disappointing this situation is for our graduating seniors and their families,” wrote Meana.
Since ceasing in-person classes earlier this month, the university has reduced population density to meet social distancing requirements in residence halls, and moved to takeout-only service in dining facilities.
UNLV will share additional confirmed cases involving members of the UNLV community at unlv.edu/coronavirus/confirmed-cases.