Surge in COVID-19 on campus sees 25 active cases, 68 in quarantine and isolation
The College has closed its athletic facilities and transitioned to “grab-and-go” dining in response to the uptick in cases.
After a term of few COVID-19 cases at the College, positive tests have spiked dramatically, with 25 active COVID-19 cases and 68 students in quarantine and isolation as of Wednesday night.
Twenty-one students have tested positive this week — a 0.71% positivity rate. No faculty or staff are currently positive. According to College spokesperson Diana Lawrence, Dartmouth’s COVID-19 dashboard currently reflects all positive results from Monday and Tuesday, though the College anticipates reporting “higher numbers” on Thursday to reflect “more positive test results late [Wednesday] evening from the daily screening, as well as from the testing that occurs at Dick’s House.”
The College has so far identified two unrelated clusters of COVID-19 cases on campus. The first, a cluster of three students, was identified on Tuesday, and the second, a cluster of four, was reported on Wednesday.
In an email to campus Wednesday afternoon, COVID-19 task force co-chairs Lisa Adams and Josh Keniston wrote that the College is “looking into possible sources of the increased transmission.”
As of Wednesday night, 29 students and two faculty and staff members are in quarantine — meaning they have been identified as a close contact or as having another risk factor for exposure, but have not tested positive and do not have symptoms. Thirty-nine students and seven faculty and staff are in isolation, meaning they either have symptoms and are awaiting test results or have tested positive for COVID-19.
The College is identifying and contacting “close contacts” of those who test positive — defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “anyone who was within six feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more” — but not contacts of “close contacts.” The CDC has stated that an infected person can spread COVID-19 starting from 48 hours before the person has any symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19.
Students on campus will shift to to-go options for meals until at least Sunday, meaning that students must use Green2Go containers to pick up food and will not be able to eat inside any dining facilities.
Alumni Gym and Zimmerman Fitness Center have also closed due to the outbreak, and in-person athletic activity has been paused until further notice. Club practices have also been put on hold indefinitely.
Regarding the closure of the library and other facilities, Lawrence wrote that the College is “monitoring the situation and will be evaluating whether any additional operational changes are needed over the coming days.” She added that “[n]othing else, other than dining, is shifting [on Wednesday].”
Outdoor activities, such as ice skating at the rinks on the Green, are still permitted so long as students follow protocol including maintaining physical distancing and wearing face coverings.