Mount Saint Marys

A sign at the entrance to Mount St. Mary’s University campus welcomed students back to the start of fall classes in August.

Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg is currently seeing the highest number of “active” COVID-19 cases on campus since the start of the semester in August.

There are currently 26 active cases — 24 students and two employees, Donna Klinger, director of public relations and communications for the Mount, said Thursday.

The Mount is using the term “active cases” to account for both individuals who have tested positive for the virus and those who have been in close contact with those who have tested positive or may be suspected of having the virus despite testing negative.

Of the 26 active cases, 14 are confirmed positive. All student active cases are quarantined in a space on-campus or nearby out of an abundance of caution, Klinger said. Students continue to take classes online while in isolation and have their meals delivered.

Every student who arrived on campus at the start of the semester was tested and the school year began with 12 active cases.

Despite having a number of active cases since classes began, campus life has proceeded as normal. Classes are still operating on a hybrid model and athletics are continuing.

As part of its COVID-19 plan, the Mount has laid out three levels to monitor whether more restrictions need to be enacted based on the number of active cases. The campus currently sits in Level 1, which means there is a low level of cases that can be contained.

Level 2 would require additional restrictions on campus life such as pausing athletic practices and moving all classes online. Klinger would not say for sure if Level 3 would mean a campus shutdown, but said it’s possible.

“It’s certainly one of the options on the table, but you know there are recommendations out there to not send people home and possibly infect their communities,” she said.

Those who are deemed as an active case are allowed to go home if they wish, but Klinger said there is more confidence that these individuals would quarantine safely at home and not infect others.

“They are going home to an environment where they know that they can isolate from everyone and it’s safe, but if we were to send everyone home, we don’t know how many students would be asymptomatic and possibly be spreading the virus,” Klinger said.

The campus community is alerted at least once a week of where the active case count stands and testing also occurs weekly.

About 2,270 COVID-19 tests have been performed on campus as of Sept. 8 and the current positivity rate is at 1 percent.

The university is also using a wastewater monitor program that can detect traces of the virus in the waste from residence halls.

If a building shows high levels of the virus, the entire residence hall is swab tested and those who test positive, if any, are placed in isolation away from the residence hall. As a precaution, the entire residence hall may be required to shelter in place. These students must stay in their dorm rooms and are only allowed to go outside to retrieve meals from the dining hall.

Follow Katryna Perera on Twitter: @katrynajill.

(15) comments

timberman

How many are exhibiting symptoms of illness?

NewMarketParent

I kept hearing 15 cases and then it would be gone like a miracle. I was told there would be miracles. Why is there no miracle?

On a serious note, I hope everyone stays safe and can get through this with no long-term effects.

Greg F

Miracles are what happens when random circumstance goes your way and got gets praise. God doesn’t get blamed when you drop the winning touchdown pass.

threecents

They have a good system in place. I hope they don't send anyone home. But yah, they need to use correct standard terminology when reporting cases.

phydeaux994

Dr. Fauci says if you get it in College don’t go home and spread it around. Lock yourself in your room and stay there, most likely with a bunch of kids that have it too!

vodalone

Mount St. Mary's has 14 confirmed cases of Covid-19 on campus. There I corrected the title for you.

bosco

[thumbup][wink]

[ninja]

bosco

"The Mount is using the term “active cases” to account for both individuals who have tested positive for the virus and those who have been in close contact with those who have tested positive or may be suspected of having the virus despite testing negative."

Way to crank up the numbers and cause further confusion. When is a case as case?

[ninja]

walter3rd

After the November election

Dwasserba

An abundance of caution. As the parent of someone attending college, I like it.

Greg F

When trump decides to test it slow down testing, B...we all know he is pressuring the skewing of miners to his liking. 🎱

Greg F

Skewing of numbers.

KellyAlzan

26 cases multiples into 300 cases. Just like fleas

threecents

Why fleas? Speaking of fleas, there is an ongoing outbreak of plague in Colorado fleas and prairie dogs. https://www.9news.com/article/news/health/colorado-plague-cases-broomfield/73-022a0516-99d2-496d-bc4f-63fba51ff4ff

Greg F

Yeah...they know it, but conveniently avoid things like truths and obvious patterns

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