NU-Q Confirms Two COVID-19 Cases

Nekbakht Alibekova, Staff Reporter

(Photo/ Ministry of Public Health)

Northwestern University in Qatar has reported two confirmed COVID-19 cases. One of the active cases was identified after the drive-thru testing in Education City organized by Qatar Foundation in partnership with Sidra Medical and Research Center on Saturday.

“We have been informed that out of the 750 people from all of the EC schools who were tested on that day, only one [NU-Q member] tested positive,” said Michael John McDonough, the director of health, safety, security, and environment, in an email to The Daily Q.

This was the second person from the NU-Q community to test positive so far. The person was reported to have been in the NU-Q building on Thursday, Sept. 17.

The two cases so far involve one student and one member of the NU-Q staff, confirmed Nanci Martin, the director of communications and public affairs at NU-Q, in an email to The Daily Q. Both individuals are currently undergoing home quarantine.

The positive case from Saturday only had one primary direct contact who was traced. Secondary contacts were informed via email to carry on as normal, but to monitor their health over the next few weeks, according to McDonough. The first case was identified outside the drive-thru and had no primary contacts, while secondary contacts are being told to do the same.

In an email that was sent to NU-Q students on Sept. 22, McDonough reassured the community that all necessary contact tracing has been completed and no other members have been directly impacted by the case identified during Saturday’s testing.

“It should be noted that this test event was organized not in response to positive cases within Education City, but rather an opportunity for QF to undertake a large community test in partnership with Sidra,” clarified McDonough to The Daily Q.

He also added that the testing was targeted at those working in the NU-Q building – faculty, staff, student workers and contractors. Each person had an allocated time of five minutes to do the swab testing. Clear instructions were sent by email to follow health and safety regulations during the drive-thru.

“There were 138 Northwestern Qatar student workers invited, however, QF has not informed us on how many attended,” said McDonough.

The testing was not mandatory for all Education City Universities. NU-Q and Georgetown University in Qatar are the only universities who have tested their student workers so far.

NU-Q is anticipating more testing by QF for those who did not get the opportunity to be tested. The testing and recent positive results will have no effect on plans for phased reopening, McDonough added.

NU-Q is following the guidance by the Ministry of Public Health and is in regular communication with Qatar Foundation regarding on-going operations and future plans. The priority is always the safety of our community, said McDonough.

“Follow the guidelines of the MoPH, remain vigilant, comply with the requirements on social distancing, hand hygiene, and the need to wear a mask when you leave your accommodation. Further useful information can be found on our website COVID update page,” he added.

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