University monitoring as cases rise

Published 6:24 pm Tuesday, August 18, 2020

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Alabama more than doubled its new coronavirus case count from Monday to Tuesday.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health’s 10 a.m. Tuesday update, the state added 1,220 cases overnight, after having added only 516 new cases on Monday.

The state’s total cases rose to 105,185, with 1,867 deaths attributed to the virus and 1,280 people hospitalized. More than 41,523 are presumed recovered.

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In Pike County, six new cases brought the total to 731 with seven confirmed deaths. The county, which was designed a “high risk” area by the ADPH, is average 2.57 new cases per day with 55 new cases reported over the past 14 days.

At Troy University, nine additional student cases were self-reported on Tuesday, including five off-campus; one online student; two at Delta Chi Fraternity; and one in Rushing Hall.

More than 50 cases have been reported at the Troy campus, among both students and faculty. Of those, nine have been among students living on campus.

University officials said they continue to monitor the situation.

“Troy University identifies individual students who are positive for COVID-19 and works to isolate those students and their close contacts, thereby hoping to avoid clusters,” the university said in a statement. “The university defines a cluster as five or more active cases within close proximity, meaning individual floors in residence halls, or members of a student organization. Depending on the number of active cases, the University would relocate residents so that cleaning and sanitization could take place and residents could return to their original rooms. “

The students are sent home to quarantine, when possible, the statement said. “The goal of the University is to prevent a cluster from occurring by returning students home to quarantine. Early diagnosis and isolation is key to preventing a major outbreak. Emphasis is placed on the Trojan Strong campaign to spread education about preventing the spread of COVID-19 on the Troy Campus.”

Nationally, colleges continued to grapple with coronavirus as students returned.

Notre Dame University became the latest college to move classes online due to the coronavirus, after nearly 150 students tested positive.

“It is very serious, and we must take serious actions,” university president the Rev. John Jenkins said in an address to students and staff Tuesday.

Tuesday’s action follows the decision by officials of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to switch to remote learning starting Wednesday, as the virus makes its mark on colleges — and college towns — across the United States. Some universities are reconsidering plans to hold in-person classes or implementing new testing regimes. Others are threatening crackdowns on students who get too close with others, in violation of social distancing rules.

In the last few days alone, college students in places including North Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Vermont, Kansas, Colorado and the Air Force Academy have tested positive, creating a ripple effect that has put hundreds of other students into quarantine or isolation.

The U.S. leads the world in the number of coronavirus cases, with 5.4 million cases reported as of Tuesday, and more than 170,000 confirmed dead, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.