Dorm-room parties blamed for U of Miami COVID outbreak

Coronavirus

Other students have been kicked out of residence halls and suspended for not following public health directives

A pedestrian walks past a sign stating that masks, used to prevent the spread of COVID-19, are required to be worn on campus, by an entrance to the University of Miami, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

MIAMI — Dorm-room parties are being blamed for a coronavirus outbreak at the University of Miami, where some students who tested positive have been relocated into isolation rooms and two entire floors of a residential tower are under quarantine.

Other students have been kicked out of residence halls and suspended for not following public health directives, said Dr. Julio Frenk, the university’s president.

A new online dashboard by the university says 156 people have tested positive in the university system. Most are students; 69 of them have been placed in isolation and another 94 under quarantine in the past seven days. The positivity rate is slightly above 5%.

“It would have been unrealistic to assume that there would be no cases of COVID-19 in our campus,” Frenk said in a video message.

Frenk said a pattern of infection emerged at one of the residence halls. In response, everyone who tested positive was moved into isolation, and those who were potentially exposed to the virus have been ordered to stay in their rooms.

Similar challenges are being addressed at other colleges in Florida, where the Department of Public Health reported 4,545 COVID-19 hospitalizations Tuesday, along with about 2,600 new virus cases.

The University of Tampa begins classes Wednesday, but it has already temporarily suspended some students who participated in a large gathering at a residence hall as they were moving in. Florida A&M University is imposing curfews for residential students.

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