Spike in cases at Monmouth University linked to ‘super-spreader’ event

Northeast

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. (NewsNation Now) — An off-campus ’super-spreader event’ has been linked to 125 new coronavirus cases at Monmouth University in New Jersey.

Monmouth spokesperson Tara Peters declined to specify what kind of gathering it was, telling NewsNation none of the cases were serious enough to require hospitalization, but the outbreak has the university reviewing its protocols.

Monmouth’s coronavirus dashboard showed 323 confirmed cases Wednesday; 96 active and 227 recovered.

The small university is one of at least two in the New York City area reporting spikes in cases of COVID-19 that have administrators considering an extension of remote learning this fall.

A letter posted by University President Dr. Patrick Leahy said in part, “An overwhelming majority of the recent cases we have seen can be traced back to this isolated super-spreader event. Moving forward, we will need 100% cooperation from our campus community in order to resume our fall semester as planned.”

It’s a quick response to a potential crisis that’s being mirrored at universities across the country.

Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, was locked down Monday after a super-spreader event among student athletes led to at least 65 positive COVID-19 tests.

Beginning Wednesday, Wichita State University is offering voluntary tests to students who have no symptoms in an effort to identify potential carriers.

The University of Dayton introduced randomized testing after recording one of the largest outbreaks of the virus in the Midwest at the start of its fall semester. 23 new cases were reported on October 7th, bringing the total since August 10th to more than 1,300. University officials said 94% are recovering.

“The school year is definitely different,” student Cassie Novak said Tuesday. “And because we’re freshmen, it’s kind of strange. We don’t know what college would’ve been like normally.”

Returning University of Dayton student Connor Murphy caught the new coronavirus over the summer and is encouraging his fellow students to follow the rules.

“As tempting as it is,” he told NewsNation affiliate WDTN, ”Stay away from big groups, because that’s what happened to me. I was in a big group and I got it.”

His advice for those who share his misfortune? “Just quarantine for two weeks and ride it out.”

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