Ohio University

Case Count Update: Athens and Regional Campuses

Published: October 13, 2020 Author: Staff reports

The following message was shared with the campus community Oct. 13, 2020.

Dear University community members:

As we begin our third week of phase two, it is perhaps not surprising that COVID cases are rising rapidly. These increases have been, in part, identified through the asymptomatic testing site but they also include tests from symptomatic students.

Although the majority of the cases at OHIO are still among the Athens off-campus students, all campuses are expected to see somewhat of an uptick as cases rise in the state. Lawrence, Muskingum and Ross counties are all at red status now. 

We now have four cases at Southern, three on the Dublin campus, two in Cleveland, two in Zanesville, and one at the Chillicothe campus.

Athens accounts for 97% of cases performed by or reported to the hotline. Alarmingly, we are seeing some sharp increases among students in residence halls; with a total of 94 cases or 7% of students in housing. Athens remains at orange but that is largely due to the lack of hospitalizations; according to the New York Times, Athens County has the highest case count in the state of Ohio per 100,000 people over the last seven days.

COVID-19 Cases in Athens Campus Residence Halls 

Over the past five days, Ohio University Housing and Residence Life has relocated students living in three separate residence halls to quarantine housing due to possible exposure to COVID-19. Boyd Hall has 37 positive cases (39% of students), Jefferson Hall has 16 positive cases (21.6%), and Tiffin Hall has 22 positive cases (26.5% of students). There are a number of other halls we are watching closely, including Sargent, James, Sowle, and Tanaka. I ask that all students redouble their efforts to wear masks and stay distanced. I recognize this is not an ideal college housing experience, but we are making the best of the situation we are in.  

All of this is worrisome, and I know many students are probably wondering what will happen if they are relocated to isolation or quarantine housing. Here are some frequently asked questions to help answer your questions and ease your concerns. Additional information is available online at https://www.ohio.edu/coronavirus/quarantine-isolation-housing

Question: Are students with COVID in the same building as those who were exposed?
Answer: Our goal is to prevent spread of COVID by moving people who are contagious or potentially contagious away from others. You can get information on quarantine/isolation housing here. We have three different kinds of placements: 

  • isolation halls for those who are symptomatic and awaiting test results;
  • isolation halls for those who have tested positive for COVID; and
  • quarantine halls for those who have been exposed to a positive person.  

Question: How do students get to the isolation or quarantine dorms?
Answer: We have a transportation service to help students easily relocate. Students are typically moved by floor to allow for social distancing during transport. Students should take essential items to last a minimum of 10 days for isolation and 14 days for quarantine.

Question: How do students get meals?
Answer: Students will be provided three meals a day for the duration of their isolation and quarantine. They should fill out their meal order forms by 10 a.m. to ensure mid-day delivery. Breakfast includes juice, fruit and a granola bar. There are set meals (adjusted for dietary restrictions) for lunch and dinner, and students can choose sides including soup and drinks. The meals are delivered fresh but do need to be heated. Each room has a refrigerator and microwave. More information about meals in quarantine/isolation housing can be found here.  

Question: What is the return process? 
Answer: The process to return to the original housing placement is outlined online at https://www.ohio.edu/coronavirus/clearance-campus-return. Students must work with their COVID Campus Liaison to process the move. They will then be contacted by Housing & Residence Life. Transportation will also be provided for the return. 

In Conclusion

We want to thank everyone for collaborating with Ohio University’s COVID-19 Operations. Faculty, students, and staff are coordinating at record levels to care for each other while continuing OHIO’s important mission. Trusting each other, looking out for our communities, and thinking about the long-term effects of individual actions are more important now than ever. Please continue to utilize the resources provided through the COVID Hotline and Incident Reports.   

Dr. Gillian Ice
Special Assistant to the President for Public Health Operations