The University of Delaware saw a spike in COVID-19 cases only one week after the semester began, and the city of Newark is monitoring the numbers, but could impose restrictions.
“COVID Surge: Please Act Responsibly” read an email sent to every student from UD Vice President Jose-Luis Riera on Wednesday.
“Today, 105 of you reported testing positive for COVID-19. This number may be discouraging and anxiety-inducing, and we need your help to safeguard our community,” it said.
All 105 positive cases along with 13 more from the prior three days were reported by students.
The week prior only saw a total of 77 cases over the span of five days.
The university has not reported publicly how many students were vaccinated or unvaccinated have contracted the virus.
Ruiz warned that if students didn’t begin to correct their course the City of Newark would again impose gathering limits, which would limit both on and off campus activities.
“In classrooms and indoor campus spaces, mask use and physical distancing continue to be highly effective at slowing the spread of the virus,” Ruiz wrote, “However, large off-campus gatherings are fueling the rise in cases. If COVID cases continue to rise, City of Newark will again restrict the size of gatherings, as it did last year.”
Mayor of Newark Jerry Clifton says he doesn’t think it’s time to panic.
“I think it’s a little early to start worrying,” Clifton said Wednesday night. “If tomorrow I see 200, 300 new cases, then I’ll be more concerned.”
He said city will take a more holistic approach to COVID-19 policy in the future. He believes that university’s spike in COVID-19 cases will smooth out, considering move-in week is over and more than 90% of the student population has been vaccinated.
“To arbitrarily shut things down again would be the death knell for those that struggled last year,” Clifton said. “They wouldn’t be here next year.”
Vaccinated students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for 10 days and fill out a contact tracing form.
While the university has on-campus isolation housing, officials recommend students return to their home residence to isolate.
“On-campus isolation space is near capacity.” Ruiz said in the email. “Our limited on-campus isolation spaces will be reserved for those students who do not have the option to return to their permanent home residences.”
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