COVID-19 case updates: A message from the President

Dear Ohio State Community:

During these extraordinary times, it is inspiring to see our Ohio State community coming together to fight the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19). We have a long way to go, but we continue to be in this together. Brenda and I express our gratitude to each of you.

Last week, we shared that the first members of our community tested positive for COVID-19. Since that time, there have been additional confirmed cases related to Ohio State, and many more are certain to follow in the coming days and weeks. We wish a full and fast recovery to anyone in our community and beyond who is battling this illness.

In recent days, some have understandably had questions about the university’s process for identifying cases and sharing information.

As this pandemic continues to evolve, it is important that information is shared appropriately to protect the health and well-being of our community while working to stop the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, we must respect everyone’s medical privacy and ensure the accuracy of information. As a result, the university is not able to publicly confirm and share details of individual COVID-19 cases.

We all must assume we either are carrying the virus and are at risk of exposing others, or that those around us are carrying the virus and are at risk of exposing us.

We will continue to use best practices under established public health protocol:

  • Individuals: Contact your primary care physician if you are personally experiencing signs or symptoms of respiratory illness consistent with coronavirus, have been exposed to an individual with coronavirus or have been diagnosed with the virus. If you are unable to reach your primary care physician, call the Wexner Medical Center’s COVID-19 call center at (614) 293-4000.
  • Managers: If you receive a report, confirmed or unconfirmed, that a member of your team has been exposed to or has contracted coronavirus, connect with your HR Business Professional and call the Wexner Medical Center's COVID-19 call center at (614) 293-4000 for guidance on what you should do.
  • Please remember: If you learn of a possible case, do not share the person’s health information with colleagues. This is a violation of their privacy, and this information is protected by HIPAA and other laws. In the face of this unprecedented pandemic, we must rely on regional public health officials to continue to investigate cases and trace potential contacts. 

Everyone who can — whose work is non-essential to critical university functions — must stay home. Everyone must practice stringent social distancing, stay at least 6 feet apart and always maintain exemplary hygiene.

Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds throughout the day and after touching surfaces. Refrain from touching your face.

As always, your support and hard work during this time are vital. If you are on the front lines fighting COVID-19, thank you. Your contributions are critical to ensuring the safety of all our communities. If your work is considered nonessential to university functions, you are fighting the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to the recommended distancing and hygiene procedures mentioned above. Again, that is the only way COVID-19 will be defeated.

By working together in these efforts, we will win. Thank you very much, and please stay safe.


Michael V. Drake, MD