By Regina Baker, Staff Writer–
The Douglas Heights Apartment complex which houses several UTC students, faced a Covid-19 exposure on Aug.17 through Aug. 26, as students return to on and off-campus housing this fall.
According to case investigations, a member of the apartment’s staff went to work during their infectious period, which led to the exposure. Because the apartments are Chattanooga property, and are part of the university’s residential student living, community members were notified rapidly.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Hamilton County Health Departments are warning anyone who lived in or visited the apartments during this period, to monitor their symptoms and get tested.
The apartments’ main office contacted all residents by email, regarding the protocols that needed to be followed during the exposure. The areas that had been contaminated were shut down and cleaned to adhere to the CDC regulations and guidelines given.
The Hamilton County Health Department is making efforts to contact any residents of Chattanooga and surrounding areas that may have been exposed.
Health Department Administrator, Becky Barnes explained the steps to follow for individuals who may be affected.
“If you have been exposed to someone with the virus, you should quarantine from others for 14 days, monitor yourself for symptoms, and get tested,” she said.
There is testing offered at the Hamilton County Health center and UTC’s Health Center. The UTC Covid-19 exposure team asked that students living in the complex to complete the Covid-19 notification form, to further ensure safety.
The school’s exposure team and the complex management are following the CDC guidelines in hopes of containing the exposure and limiting the amount of people that could further be affected. With students living in the building, it is the university’s responsibility to ensure no further exposure comes to the school.
The complex has specific restricted areas that residents are not allowed in, such as the office and the lower level of the complex. A part of the building was put on mandated quarantine, and the areas exposed were shut down, and will continue to be until the mandated 14 days are over.
UTC student and Douglas Apartments resident, Austin Chipperfield shared what this experience has looked like for him.
“The main office is shut down and they communicate with us through email, telling us what steps to take to avoid contamination, along with cleaning the areas exposed. It’s not as bad as people think,” he said.
None of the employees that work at the complex were allowed to speak of the matter, and management denied to provide further information or comment on the exposure.