CWU student in isolation and being tested for coronavirus


Mariah Valles, Managing Editor

Update: This story was updated on Feb. 2 after originally being posted on Jan. 30. 

A CWU student being tested for the novel coronavirus is being held in isolation at the Kittitas Valley Healthcare hospital. The student lives on campus, according to Kittitas County Public Health Department (KCPHD) officials.

While health officials are not releasing information about the patient’s symptoms, they did say the student returned from China on Jan. 6. The student did not travel to Wuhan, the city being noted as the starting place of the virus. As of Friday afternoon, the patient is in stable condition. 

KCPHD said nobody else is being considered for testing.

Jane Pham, an international student from Vietnam, said she wished she would’ve heard about the situation from university officials, not news outlets. 

Pham, concerned and upset about the situation, responded to President James L. Gaudino’s email to students on Friday. Pham supplied the emails to The Observer. Pham is upset the university was not the first to inform students and that she found out about the student being tested from the media. 

“I guess it was not a piece of serious information sent out by the superior of our school,” Pham wrote to Gaudino. “They seemed not to care so much.”

CWU Chief of Staff Linda Schactler responded to Pham’s email of concern later that morning. 

“I’m sorry that the news media released this information before we were able to contact students,” Schactler wrote. “Unlike the press, we have to work with the local health authorities, the individuals actually involved, and others before announcing the situation.” 

Shactler went on to say that CWU is taking the “challenge” seriously and that it’s following federal protocol set by the Centers for Disease Control and is working closely with local health officials. 

The Observer received a press release announcing the student being tested for the virus on Jan. 30 at 6:27 p.m. CWU officials deferred media calls that night to KCPHD. On Jan. 31, CWU released a public statement at 8:53 a.m. 

When Pham checked her email after the news broke and saw Gaudino’s statement, she said it didn’t come fast enough. 

“I felt like that is too late,” Pham said. 

Pham said CWU should’ve informed students how to prevent the virus when the man in Everett, Washington was confirmed having the case. The Everett case was the first confirmed case in the U.S.

KCPHD is still waiting on test results, but is hoping to have results early this week. Until results are received, the student will remain in isolation.




A CWU student, who recently traveled internationally, is being tested for the novel coronavirus. 

KCPHD will be sending a test to the Washington State Department of Health Laboratory, according to a press release. 

The student became ill and was seen at the Student Medical and Counseling Clinic on campus. 

“The student recently traveled internationally to attend an event, which may have exposed the student to novel coronavirus,” the release said. 

According to the release, KCPHD is working closely with CWU to ensure both that the student is being cared for and that the campus remains safe. 

Test results are expected to be available within the next three days. Until then, the student will remain in isolation.