University of Virginia dorm to enter quarantine after 5 positive COVID-19 cases

University of Virginia dorm to enter quarantine after 5 positive COVID-19 cases
The UVA Rotunda. (Source: Tony Franklin)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A University of Virginia dorm is preparing to enter a quarantine after five positive COVID-19 cases, a university spokesperson shared.

All 188 students who live at Balz-Dobie residence hall were notified Wednesday afternoon of the positive cases, which were discovered through both individual and wastewater testing.

The University of Virginia announced it will test all 188 residents and ask them to remain in their rooms until test results are received. It noted that students are allowed to leave only to use the restroom or retrieve meals.

“University leaders and public health experts have spent months planning for a return of students and a potential increase in cases,” a statement shared by the university says. “We continue to expand our testing capacity, add quarantine and isolation rooms as necessary, and monitor our overall capacity to respond to cases and limit the spread of the virus.”

Any student who tests positive will be moved to University isolation rooms, and those who were in close contact with COVID-19 positive students will move to quarantine rooms. Right now, 11% of quarantine rooms and 1% of isolation rooms are occupied, according to the university COVID tracker.


Letters provided to Balz-Dobie residents:

Dear Residents of Balz-Dobie:

As we have said previously, we have been planning for months for the return of students knowing there would be cases of COVID-19 among the UVA community. We have put in place health and safety measures and expanded testing to detect and contain cases as quickly as possible.

This evening, we will be testing all residents of Balz-Dobie, starting at 6 p.m. We made this decision based on positive indicators from our wastewater testing, which provides an early warning signal about possible COVID infections, and the fact that five Balz-Dobie residents have recently tested positive.

We want to explain what this means for you, and the steps you need take to safeguard your health and the health of others.

  1. First, please know that the University is prepared for this scenario, and we will provide the care and resources that you and your fellow students need.
  2. If you are away from Balz-Dobie, please return to your room now. If you are already in your room, please stay there.
  3. The University will send a COVID-19 testing team to Balz-Dobie at approximately 6 p.m. to test all residents and RAs. Team members will go door-to-door to conduct the nasopharyngeal tests.
  4. We will process the tests at UVA labs as quickly as possible. Results will be available in 24-48 hours.
  5. Before testing and while we await test results, we ask that all residents temporarily quarantine. This means that you will need to remain in your room except when retrieving meals or using the bathroom. If you have class during this time, please attend remotely. Please wear your masks at all times, including in the hallway and in your room, except when you are sleeping.
  6. The University will arrange for food service during the temporary quarantine. Tonight, after testing has been completed for your floor, you will be notified that you can go to the O-Hill outdoor tent to pick up dinner. Information about subsequent meals will be provided soon.
  7. Please continue to follow the bathroom protocols and assignments you received at move-in. Disinfectant spray is in good supply and will be replenished as needed.

We recognize that remaining in your rooms until we receive the test results will disrupt your schedules and your routines. We appreciate your cooperation in this important effort to keep our community safe.

We also recognize that this notice is likely to create some anxiety. Resources are available here, and your RAs stand ready to assist as well. And please know that we will process the tests as quickly as possible.

We will continue to update you by text and by email.

Sincerely,

Liz Magill

Provost

J.J. Davis

Chief Operating Officer

Mitch Rosner, MD, MACP

Henry B. Mulholland Professor of Medicine

Chair, Department of Medicine

Chief Medical Advisor, UVA COVID-19 Response

Amy Mathers, MD, D(ABMM)

Associate Professor of Medicine and Pathology


Dear Balz-Dobie residents,

As you saw in the public health alert earlier this evening, the University needs you to remain in your room while awaiting COVID-19 testing and results. On behalf of UVA Dine, we are following up with details about food service during this temporary quarantine:

Tonight, after testing has been completed for your floor, you will be notified that you can go to the O-Hill outdoor tent to pick up dinner.

Beginning tomorrow, you can return to the O-Hill outdoor tent to pick up your meals at the following times:

Breakfast: 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Dinner: 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Please contact UVA Dine at dining@virginia.edu if you have questions about accommodations for any dietary restrictions or food allergies.

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