UT president Greg Fenves tests negative for COVID-19 after wife tests positive

Coronavirus

AUSTIN (KXAN) — UT President Greg Fenves has tested negative for COVID-19, according to a letter issued by UT Health Austin’s Chief Clinical Officer.

He will continue to self-isolate for 14 days and monitor for further symptoms, though he has not experienced any flu-like symptoms since he had a fever late on Thursday night, according to a UT spokesman.

Meanwhile, some people who had contact with Fenves will continue to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms, and university representatives are in the process of contacting those who have had close contact with him in recent days.

UT Health Austin infectious disease physicians and Austin Public Health are making those recommendations for those who had close contact because of Fenves’ extensive contact with those in his family who have tested positive and the fact that he showed symptoms.

Officials said there is still a possibility he was infectious before his COVID-19 testing.

Those who had casual or distant contact are considered low risk and should self-monitor for symptoms.

In a letter sent out to the University of Texas community Friday, Fenves announced his wife had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Carmel Fenves (KXAN Photo)
Carmel Fenves (KXAN Photo)

Fenves said in his letter that UT administration decided to cancel classes Friday morning because the first case of the coronavirus was found in the UT community. He went on to say that the person in question was his wife, Carmel Fenves. He also said another member of his family, who also works at UT, is presumed to have the virus as well.

Fenves wrote that the three of them were tested and were in quarantine. He also said he and his wife compiled a list of people they might have come in contact with in recent days. UT Health Austin nurses will be contacting these people for screening, according to Fenves.

Fenves encouraged anyone who has come in contact with him or his wife in recent days to self-quarantine.

Saturday morning, A UT spokesman answered KXAN’s questions regarding Fenves’ symptoms. “At the time of the press conference Thursday morning, the president had not yet experienced any symptoms. He experienced fever symptoms late Thursday night and sought advice from his doctor, who said that he met the conditions to have a test, which he did early Friday morning.”

According to the letter, Fenves and his wife traveled to New York City for a series of events with alumni and students. When they returned, Carmel began displaying flu-like symptoms. She tested negative for the flu but tested positive for COVID-19. They received the news after the announcement of two other separate cases of COVID-19 in Travis County.

“Under normal circumstances, I would not describe the details of an individual’s illness. However, given the widespread impact of COVID-19, Carmel and I wanted to share this information with you so members of our community can take proper precautions,” wrote Fenves in his letter. “We had been anticipating that someone in Austin or at UT would test positive for COVID-19 in the coming days or weeks and, as you know, we will be making modifications for the rest of the semester. I will be updating you on the changes that we will continue to make. I also suggest you check our website frequently to stay informed.”

Shortly after Fenves’ announcement, Austin Public Health released a statement on the third presumptive positive case of coronavirus in the Austin area, which at last report, is at five cases.

The department did not directly state that Carmel Fenves was the third positive case mentioned in its statement.

Read the full letter from president Fenves on the UT website here.

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