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Williams Woods screening students after COVID-19 positive test

Callaway County officials discuss first COVID-19 case
ABC 17 News
Callaway County officials talk about the county's first COVID-19 case during a news conference at Fulton City Hall on Friday, March 20, 2020.


A William Woods University spokesman said Friday that the school is screening students for COVID-19 before they leave campus after one tested positive Thursday.

William Woods University in Fulton said Friday morning that a student had tested positive for COVID-19 in a message posted on its website.

The case was the first publicly reported out of Callaway County, though the City of Fulton said Friday that it closed City Hall at noon after an employee had a fever. The employee was sent home.

The student is being quarantined on the William Woods campus, as are people who came into contact with the student, Callaway County Health Department official Kent Wood said at a news conference at Fulton City Hall.

Wood said the case was travel-related. He said authorities would not release more information about the patient.

William Woods spokesman John Fougere said the school has two stations to screen students as they leave campus. Classes were already being conducted only online and the university before the positive result was about to encourage students to leave campus amid the continued spread of COVID-19, Fougere said.

Callaway County Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann said the county is encouraging businesses to follow guidelines limiting crowd sizes but was not requiring them to do so.

“In my opinion, it’s an extremely urgent suggestion," he said.

The positive test came Thursday night and the decision was made to close the campus Friday based on guidance from Callaway County health authorities, Williams Woods President Jahnae Barnett said in the statement.

"For now, we are asking all residents to stay in place," Barnett said. "Our staff is committed to working with you in any capacity to ensure that your prompt departure from campus is achieved as smoothly as possible. Specific student guidance from Student Life is being prepared."

The university in a message late Thursday said the student tested positive after going through drive-thru testing at University of Missouri Health Care in Columbia.

Barnett told employees not to come to work unless they are specifically contacted by a supervisor.

Gov. Mike Parson said Friday morning that the state has recorded 47 positives for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. That count did not include the Callaway County case.

Health authorities have reported one death in Missouri from COVID-19 -- a person in Columbia who died Wednesday after testing positive Tuesday. That person is believed to have contracted the virus from travel abroad.

Check back for more on this developing story.

Coronavirus / Education / Email Alert – Breaking News / Fulton / News / Top Stories
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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.


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