Tuesday, September 27, 2022

UNCW identifies two Covid-19 clusters, initiates contact tracing [Free]

University of North Carolina Wilmington. (Port City Daily photo / BENJAMIN SCHACHTMAN)
University of North Carolina Wilmington. (Port City Daily photo / Benjamin Schachtman)

WILMINGTON — On Thursday evening UNCW identified ten student cases of Covid-19 at two residence halls. These have been categorized as ‘clusters,’ having five or more cases in close physical proximity occurring within two weeks.

According to UNCW, the clusters were located in Pelican Hall and Graham-Hewlett Hall. The University stated “individuals involved in these clusters are isolating and receiving medical monitoring and/or treatment as needed. To protect individuals’ private health information, UNCW will not publicly identify students or employees diagnosed with COVID-19.”

According to UNCW’s ‘data dashboard,’ there have been 33 Covid-19 cases since July, with 30 students and 3 faculty or staff infected. The University is currently using about 14% of its quarantine bed spaces, up from 7% last week.

UNCW stated it had “informed the New Hanover County Health Department, and contact tracing has been initiated with direct communication to anyone determined to have been in close contact with a positive individual.” The health department defines a “close contact” as “someone who has been within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes.”

UNCW is hardly the first North Carolina school to identify clusters. Last week UNC-Chapel Hill closed its campus and yesterday NC State closed dorms, calling the Covid-19 situation “untenable.”

UNC-Chapel Hill made the decision to cancel all in-person classes after over a hundred students and faculty tested positive for Covid-19. The university was one of the largest in the nation planning a return to in-class instruction during the pandemic, a decision that was widely criticized, including a searing editorial by the Daily Tarheel which called the plan to reopen a ‘clusterfuck.’

The same day, UNC system schools — including UNCW — said they were prepared to ‘pivot’ to online-only education in the face of a serious outbreak.

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