March 13, 2020

First “Presumed Positive” Case of COVID-19 Confirmed at UChicago Medicine

University of Chicago Medicine trauma center

Jeremy Lindenfeld / The Chicago Maroon

University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) has confirmed its first presumed positive case of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The patient is not affiliated with the University. 

The University announced the case in an email to the University community from Kenneth Polonsky, Executive Vice President of the University for Biology and Medicine. “Presumed positive” means that the Medical Center is waiting on confirmation from the CDC. 

A statement sent to The Maroon by Lorna Wong, the executive director of communications for UCM, said that the Medical Center is taking “extensive precautions” to keep the risk of infection low in the campus community.

“A patient from outside the University of Chicago has a presumed positive test for COVID-19 infection and is under care at the University of Chicago Medicine, with extensive precautions to maintain the community’s safety,” Wong wrote. “The Medical Center is awaiting confirmation from the CDC, which is expected in the coming days." 

UCM had previously admitted a patient suspected of having COVID-19 on March 4. The patient, who was unaffiliated with the University, tested negative for the virus.

There are 46 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Illinois as of Friday, the Sun-Times reported. Several city institutions have announced temporary closings, including the Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry.