Health District says University of Virginia COVID cases haven’t frequently spread into community

Health District says University of Virginia COVID cases haven’t frequently spread into community

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - With 200 active cases of the coronavirus among University of Virginia students, one big question looms: will the virus spread outside the University?

While it’s tough to tell definitively, there are indications that the virus is mostly staying in the UVA community.

“For the most part what we see is students infecting other students,” said Dr. Denise Bonds, the health director at the Thomas Jefferson Health District. "We have not seen a large number of cases amongst community members that we’ve been able to link back to students.”

Bonds presented the Charlottesville City Council on Monday evening with these findings.

“I don’t want to say that there’s no cross-spread between UVA and the community," she said. “But in general what we see is cases at UVA we’ll be able to link it back to other UVA cases, and community cases are frequently linked back to other community cases.”

Bonds said it’s important to remember that many people, including workers, are members of both the UVA community and the city’s community.

"We are seeing more cases among individuals who work at UVA either as faculty or over in the hospital, and they are our community members.”

Dr. Bonds did point out the University has enacted new restrictions, like capping group gatherings at five people and limiting travel. But the daily average of new student cases has fluctuated since they were implemented on Sept. 23.

“They’ve really put in place some pretty significant restrictions on the students to try and reduce the number of cases,” Bonds said.

Tuesday afternoon the University announced those restrictions will stay in place for the next two weeks.

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