CoronavirusFeaturedNewsThe SouthSider

SLU student is city’s first coronavirus case

CITY HALL – The first person in the city with coronavirus is being quarantined at home. Nobody else is at risk, Mayor Lyda Krewson and City Health Director Dr. Fredrick Echols said in a hastily called news conference on Monday night. 

Echols said officials learned late Monday afternoon that specimens from the person had tested positive. He and Krewson declined to provide information, such as the person’s gender, that they thought could identify him or her. The person is in his or her 20s, they said.

However, St. Louis University issued a statement saying that one of its students had tested positive for the virus.

“A Saint Louis University student who recently returned from travel abroad has tested positive for COVID-19. The student continues to isolate in an off-campus residence, following all guidelines and precautions,” the university said.

SLU President Fred Pestello confirmed on Twitter late Monday night: “As you may have heard tonight, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson announced the first positive case of COVID-19 in the City of St. Louis. I am sorry to report that this positive case is a member of our SLU community.”

Echols said the person flew into a city from a country with a high rate of coronavirus infections. The person then started driving toward St. Louis on Saturday and realized that he or she was not well. On the way to St. Louis, that person contacted a medical facility. The medical facility contacted the city Health Department, which directed that person to go directly to the medical facility.

After determining that the person met the criteria for testing established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medical professionals, he or she was tested. 

Since then, the person has stayed at home.

“We know that they have not been outside their house since they got back home,” Krewson said. “We’ve checked on them. We know that’s the case. They’ve been very, very responsible.”

Jim Merkel Born and raised in the St. Louis area, Jim Merkel covered communities throughout the area from 1991 to 2013 for the old Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. He is the author of five books about the Gateway City published by Reedy Press. The latest is Growing Up St. Louis: Looking Back Through the Decades. He and his wife, Lorraine, live in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of south St. Louis with Miss Jenny the Cat. For more about Jim, visit

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