COVID-19 cases double in 1 week at CU, university makes urgent request

Coronavirus

BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — The University of Colorado Boulder announced Tuesday that the number of positive COVID-19 cases is rising. The university said it is making an urgent request to stop the surge of positive coronavirus cases in Boulder.

In a letter sent to students, faculty and staff, the university shared that cases went from 90 to 205 in one week. There have been a total of 308 positive cases from Aug. 25 to Sept. 13.

“We need to stop the recent rise in positive COVID-19 cases immediately by wearing face coverings, avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, practicing physical distancing and staying home when experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.” shared Phil DiStefano, Chancellor and Dan Jones, Associate Vice Chancellor for Integrity, Safety and Compliance on Tuesday.

Boulder County Public Health strongly recommended students quarantine in their home or dormitories for 14 days.

“Individuals should not leave their residence unless it is for work, class, or getting food to take care of children or parents, or medical attention (including to get tested) that cannot be provided remotely,” BCPH said.

Here is a portion of the letter from the university:

Dear students, faculty and staff,

We are writing with an update and an urgent request. We need to stop the recent rise in positive COVID-19 cases immediately by wearing face coverings, avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, practicing physical distancing and staying home when experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. We’re working with our partners in the city, county and state to identify even more interventions that will stop the surge of COVID-19 cases in Boulder. 

CU’s diagnostic testing for the fall semester has shown the following results:

Time PeriodNumber of positive diagnostic tests through CU Boulder Medical Services
Week 113
Week 290
Week 3205
Fall Semester To Date(Aug. 24 to Sept. 13)308

Concerns off campus

Of the 308 positive cases confirmed so far, 29% are among on-campus residents and 71% are among individuals living off campus.

As the majority of our cases are off campus, we are collaborating closely with our partners in the city, county and state to discuss options. We expect we will soon deploy new testing strategies and additional measures in an effort to change the behaviors contributing to the increase.

Information from our contact tracing program shows that the most common factors in our positive cases are participation in large gatherings, particularly among a few sororities, fraternities and other multi-student residences on University Hill, along with a failure to wear face coverings and practice physical distancing. To date, county health officials have quarantined residents at four sorority houses.

Current campus operations continue

Based on information from contact tracing, there have not been transmissions identified from when an infectious individual attended an in-person class. Precautions in place with the physical set-up of classes include: required face coverings, decreased density, physical distancing of at least 6 feet and improved ventilation. Boulder County Public Health does not currently have concerns about our in-person classes because of the precautions we’re following. If problematic behavior does not change, we will need to reconsider the campus status.

Stopping the spread

We need to stop the spread of the virus immediately. You can help.

The majority of our students, faculty and staff are abiding by the best protocols for preventing the spread of COVID-19 by always wearing face coverings, avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, practicing physical distancing and staying home when experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.

For individuals caught hosting or attending a party or large gathering on or off campus that violates a public health order, increased enforcement of non-compliance has already begun and penalties include:

  • Exclusion from campus for two weeks. 
  • Probation, which impacts a student’s ability to study abroad or attend graduate school.
  • Required participation in educational sanctions, which provide additional information on following public health orders in the future.
  • Suspension from CU Boulder for a minimum of one semester for multiple or severe violations, including violations of isolation that puts others at risk. 
  • Play it safe. If there’s any doubt, stay home.

We are hearing questions and confusion from students about what to do if you may have been exposed, when to stay home and how to get tested.

Please self-quarantine for two weeks if you may have been exposed through close contact with someone who is sick. Staying home when an exposure to an infected person may have occurred is one of the most effective measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

Quarantine is not the same as isolation. Quarantine is avoiding in-person interactions with others, monitoring yourself for symptoms and following health precautions like covering your coughs and sneezes, disinfecting shared spaces and not sharing household items. Isolation occurs when a person has a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Stay home if you have any symptoms

Stay home immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms. You will be protecting yourself and every member of our community:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Sore throat.
  • Muscle aches.
  • New loss of taste or smell.
  • Fatigue.
  • If you develop a fever or respiratory symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately. Students can call the CU Boulder Medical Services 24-hour nurse line at 303-492-5101 or schedule a COVID-19 telehealth appointment.

Read Full Letter from CU

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