Nazareth College monitoring emerging COVID-19 cluster after 19 cases in 2 days

Coronavirus

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WROC) — Nazareth College officials say they are monitoring an “emerging cluster” of COVID-19 cases.

Officials say there have been 19 new positive cases within the past two days, related to one student event off campus and 60 individuals with whom they had been in close contact with during their infectious days.

College officials say the 60 individuals have been moved into separate quarantine spaces. They add there has been two unrelated individual cases for a total of 21 positive cases.

On the college’s website, College President Beth Paul wrote:

“From the first cases reported Wednesday, College staff has worked with care and speed to guide affected individuals and their close contacts to quickly isolate/quarantine to contain and halt the spread of the virus. Affected individuals are being regularly monitored and supported. All are experiencing mild or no symptoms.  

Contact tracing indicates that the recent upsurge is linked to the single event last weekend where some health and safety precautions were taken, but included sharing a meal (without masks) within 6 feet of each other. We are conducting an investigation of the event. Violations of the codes of conduct/ethics are subject to disciplinary action.  

For all of us, this is upsetting and sobering. COVID-19 requires constant vigilance and adherence to health and safety guidelines because of the virus’ ability to spread quickly. Science has shown that wearing face coverings is effective in reducing the spread of the virus.

The College is working with the New York State and Monroe County health departments and following all previously defined protocols and procedures outlined in our COVID-19 response plan. This includes extensive cleaning and sanitation of all affected areas by a specialized contractor. 

In addition, effective today and for the next 2 weeks while we monitor the situation:

  • All on-campus gatherings are limited to 10 people; the exception applies only to classes/course activities. All health and safety guidelines (including face coverings, physical distancing, and daily online screening) must be followed.
  • No off-campus social gatherings. The student conduct code applies off campus as well. Any student who participates in off-campus social gatherings will not be allowed back on campus and will be subject to a student conduct investigation and subsequent sanctions.
  • No in-person meetings; use virtual options.
  • Dine-in eating within the Dining Commons is reduced to 25% of capacity. (All food is already available to go.) Since eating requires removing masks, any eating together should be only with people you live with.
  • Staffing in campus offices is reduced to 25% of capacity; others will work remotely.
  • Lounges, kitchens, and gathering areas in residence halls are closed.
  • Golisano Training Center fields, track, and fitness center are closed for fitness use, and the stadium fitness center is closed. Students can borrow equipment from GTC for outdoor use and shoot baskets inside the GTC.
  • COVID-19 testing is recommended for people who’ve been exposed to individuals who are symptomatic or who have tested positive. See Testing webpage for details.
  • Details of how these measures affect specific areas are being shared by departments and offices.

We will continue to provide updates on our FAQ: COVID-19 Cluster webpage as information becomes available. 

Ours is a community of care and commitment. We see students, faculty, and staff taking precautions and making sacrifices daily in order to continue the valuable learning experiences this semester. We know the power and significance of a Nazareth education — especially at this dynamic time in our society. We have accomplished so much together this semester.

Our collective efforts are only as effective as our individual willingness to comply with social distancing and wearing face coverings. Let us recommit to one another, to respect each other’s well-being, and advance our learning community. I believe in our Naz community.”

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