SU eases restrictions as active case start to drop

SU eases restrictions as active case start to drop

Administrators have confirmed the infection rate has “meaningfully declined” as daily active cases decreased to 87 as of Thursday.
Published: October 12, 2020 | Updated: October 15th, 2020 at 6:16 pm
New visualization of the Covid-19 virus

October 15, 2020 3:30 pm

In a campus-wide email Thursday, Syracuse University Vice Chancellor Michael Haynie said the school leadership is confident that the number of positive cases is on a downward trend.

“We are cautiously optimistic that we have undercut the potential for significant additional exposures within our campus community,” Haynie said. “Our rate of new positive infection has meaningfully declined from the very high levels we experienced last week.”

As of Thursday, there are 87 active cases within Central New York, a decline of 11 cases since Wednesday. Although we exceeded 100 active cases on Wednesday, a campus shutdown remains unlikely, since the New York State Department of Health reporting period reset on Oct. 10.

Haynie stressed that the majority of cases seen on campus are a result of the off-campus super-spreading event. Approximately, 80% of all positive cases reported since the beginning of the semester are a result of off-campus students socializing. For that reason, the strict restrictions for off-campus activities will remain in effect. Meaning no more than five students who do not live together can gather at a given time. Any leaseholder who hosts a gathering exceeding five people will be referred to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

While the crack-down on off-campus parties will continue, some in-person activities can resume effective today. The Barnes Center at the Arch and university-sponsored events under 25 people, will be able to carry on as normal. This includes Orange After Dark and University Union events.

“We have yet to document any linkage between a COVID-19 case and exposure that occurred in a classroom or in the Barnes Center,” said Haynie.

Despite Haynie saying the administration feels confident they have contained the cluster, he urged students to continue being vigilant members of the SU community and participate in COVID testing at their earliest convenience.

Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed is being asked to contact the COVID Program Management Office at (315) 443-6180 or sucovid@syr.edu.

Transition to online learning unlikely as cluster surge slows
October 12, 2020 5:15 pm

Syracuse University reported Monday a total of 88 active COVID-19 cases on its main campus, with 10 new student positive tests over the weekend. But despite nearly 100 active cases, SU is unlikely to transition to shifting in-person classes online just yet.

As of 4 p.m. on Oct. 9, SU confirmed 80 positive COVID-19 test results during the last 14-day reporting deadline to the New York State Department of Health. Because the 14-day reporting period reset on Saturday, the current number of new positive tests is now 16, including the 10 new cases reported.

The total number of students currently in quarantine hit 241, an increase of 21 since Sunday. This is the largest number of quarantined students since the beginning of the semester. The surge seems to be slowing as only two new cases were reported since Sunday, compared to the increase of 20 on consecutive days at the end of last week.

Michael Haynie, SU Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Innovation, sent out a campus-wide email on Oct. 6 confirming that the university’s public health surveillance team identified an emerging cluster of positive COVID-19 cases that stemmed from off-campus gatherings, one of which was held on Walnut Avenue.

Because of the increasing surge of new cases, SU paused all in-person activities,other than class, and limited that all social gatherings on- and off-campus may not exceed five individuals who do not live together.

Besides SU’s continued enforcement of social distancing, Onondaga County also warned residents of the potential exposure of COVID-19< at Lowe’s, Beak & Skiff and Nibsy’s Pub.

Six patrons at Beak & Stiff tested positive earlier this month after visiting the apple orchard on Oct. 2. In this case of unknown exposures, the county released the information to the public and is now contacting anyone who tests positive.

Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed is being asked to contact the COVID Program Management Office at (315) 443-6180 or sucovid@syr.edu.

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