Editor’s note: Other Utah media outlets picked up this story after The Daily Universe first reported on it and mistakenly identified the resident as a BYU student. BYU said the Universe’s story is correct and that the resident is not enrolled in classes.
The management of the Liberty on Freedom apartment complex at 865 N. 160 West in Provo sent an email to residents Wednesday night announcing a resident tested positive for COVID-19 and that additional precautions will be taken to ensure the safety of other tenants.
The email says the resident was likely exposed to the virus while on a cruise they returned from on March 9. The resident reportedly began showing symptoms last weekend and went into self-isolation before being tested. The resident is no longer on the property and their roommates are currently self-quarantined.
In the email, management encouraged students to take precautions to keep themselves safe and healthy.
“We are asking you to be extra vigilant in doing your part to stop the spread of the virus. Wash your hands, stay six feet away from people, avoid large gatherings. Be responsible,” reads the email. “What you do will impact your community right now.”
Liberty on Freedom also said in the email that it is strictly enforcing the closure of all apartment complex amenities with the exception of the laundry area, but they encouraged residents to wash their hands before and after using it. Management’s office will also be closed to the public, but residents are encouraged to call, text or email management with any questions.
The complex also announced maintenance issues within apartments will only be addressed in person if they are emergencies. “We will be offering residents the opportunity to FaceTime our maintenance team to help with non-emergency maintenance issues,” reads the email.
Management ended the email by encouraging tenants to keep calm. “I know I can trust you all to be vigilant and take this seriously. We don’t need to be scared, but we do need to be aware and wise.”
Harriet Richardson, a resident and BYU photography major, said she had heard of rumors of COVID-19 cases before receiving management’s email but that the finding out about the confirmed case was a wake-up call.
“It made me realize how serious the problem really is, and that it is closer to us than we expected,” she said, “I feel like they (management) are doing the best they can in a tough situation by closing public facilities and quarantining those who confirmed to have the virus and their roommates.”
For resident and Springville-native Brent Blackwell, the email came as a surprise. However, he thinks the precautions management has implemented are great.
“Just last night there were at least 10 people in the hot tub and people hanging out. Hopefully, none of them were in close contact with the affected individual,” he said.
The email also changed his perspective on COVID-19 in general.
“I think maybe it is time we all take this a little more seriously,” he said. “I have been on the side of less cautious, but to protect those that are high-risk, it is important that we all take precautions. When we haven’t been personally affected, it is easy to not feel the need to be cautious, but we all need to do better anyway.”