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OU reports member of university community tested positive for coronavirus, closes campus for five days

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OU will send all non-essential employees home for five days after an individual on the Norman campus has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement from the university. 

According to an email sent Sunday night, a "member of the Norman campus" tested positive for the coronavirus. The email does not specify whether the individual was a member of OU's faculty, staff or student body. 

The email also said OU will attempt to track the individual's interactions on campus alongside the Oklahoma State Health Department. According to a tweet from Norman Mayor Breea Clark, the individual had "no known evidence of travel." 

"In accordance with Health Department procedure, all those impacted will be notified and provided guidance for next steps to be screened and, if necessary, self-isolate," the email reads. "I know all of us join together in hoping for a full and quick recovery for our community member."

The email also announced that as a result of the positive case, campus will close for five days starting March 16 and ending March 20. All non-essential employees will be asked not to report for work while OU conducts a deep clean of the "impacted areas" on campus. Goddard Health Center will remain open, according to a university spokesperson. 

The closure will not impact OU's Tulsa Campus or the Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. Campus housing will remain open, but the email encouraged students who have already left campus to remain away. 

OU moved classes online for two weeks following spring break in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the World Health Organization, people can avoid the disease through hand-washing, social distancing, keeping hands away from the face, practicing respiratory hygiene and seeking medical care quickly if symptoms — including fever, cough and difficulty breathing — arise.

According to the WHO, illness due to the coronavirus is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. But it can cause serious illness — about 1 in every 5 people who catch it need hospital care, and older people are at increased risk to experience serious illness.

OU has released a series of announcements regarding its monitoring of the coronavirus and answers to frequently asked questions about the coronavirus, which can be found on OU’s website.

"As we have in all circumstances, we will work together with a sense of common purpose and care for each other," the email reads. "I am heartened by the way everyone in our community is approaching this unique and developing situation with resolved optimism and understanding."

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