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Nazareth College works to contain cluster of COVID-19 cases


Nazareth College says it’s working with New York state and the Monroe County Health Department to contain an emerging cluster of COVID-19 cases within the Nazareth community.

As of Friday morning, Nazareth had 19 positive cases within the past two days related to one off-campus student event. Sixty individuals with whom they had been in close contact while they were contagious have been moved into separate quarantine spaces.

In addition, officials say there are two unrelated individual cases, for a total of 21 cases. The college says that affected individuals are being regularly monitored and supported, and all are experiencing mild or no symptoms. 

Contact tracing indicates that the recent upsurge is linked to a single event last weekend where some health and safety precautions were taken, but included sharing a meal (without masks) within 6 feet of each other. Nazareth is conducting an investigation of the event. Officials note that violations of the codes of conduct/ethics are subject to disciplinary action. 

Nazareth says a specialized contractor is doing extensive cleaning and sanitation of all affected areas. 

The college is taking additional steps, including limiting on-campus gatherings to 10 people, no off-campus gatherings, reducing dine-in eating capacity to 25% (all food is already available to go), closing all gathering areas in residence halls, and closing all fitness centers.

Nazareth College President Beth Paul said that the college’s “collective efforts are only as effective as our individual willingness to comply with social distancing and wearing face coverings. Let us recommit to one another, to respect each other’s well-being, and advance our learning community.”

Nazareth is conducing classes using a hybrid model which is a mix of some in-person and remote learning; officials said Friday that will continue. 

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.