Six residence hall wings are in quarantine at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire after students who tested positive for the coronavirus may have had interactions with others in their buildings. While they are not ill or showing symptoms, 184 students living in those dormitories will have to stay in their rooms for 14 days.
The university did not say which of its 14 dormitory buildings were affected by the quarantine.
According to new numbers from the university, 69 UW-Eau Claire students have tested positive for the coronavirus. Out of those students, 17 live on-campus and 52 students live off-campus. None are hospitalized.
In an email message sent to students, Warren Anderson, vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion and student affairs, said some of the cases resulted from student gatherings.
“According to the Health Department, several of the most recent off-campus positive cases resulted from a student bonfire, house parties and other student gatherings,” Anderson said. “You are reminded that to remain safe you should keep your circle of contacts small, practice physical distancing and wear a mask. Please also cooperate fully if you are contacted by campus or Health Department disease investigators who are helping to identify students who may have been in contact with those who test positive.”
But a public statement from the university had a different message.
“This is happening, we’re on top of it and we have programs in place to manage this,” Anderson said in a public statement.
Putnam Hall is being used for isolation and quarantine for on-campus students. As of Sunday evening, seven out of 48 isolation beds are in use. 11 out of 73 total quarantine beds are also in use.
Quarantine is for students who may have had contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. Isolation is for students who are symptomatic and awaiting test results or have already received positive test results.
Lieske Giese, director of the health department, said there were no close student contacts connected to UW-Eau Claire classroom, citing current disease investigations.
“This is a testament to the good work that the faculty and staff at UW-Eau Claire have done to provide learning environments that minimize risk for students and instructors,” Giese said in a statement. “Student social behavior is still our highest concern. We recommend that students on and off-campus keep their social circles small, practice physical distancing and wear masks.”
UW-Eau Claire is launching a public dashboard this week to include the number of students who have tested positive on campus and the number of students tested.
The university said in a press release that it has arranged for meals and for books to be delivered to the students in quarantine and isolation on campus.