Estimated 160 active coronavirus cases associated with Notre Dame, sick students housed near campus

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 6:36 PM EST
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NOTRE DAME, Ind. (WNDU) - While many college students are home for winter break, some at Notre Dame have yet to leave the campus area because of the coronavirus. The university’s dashboard indicates an estimated 160 cases, as of November 23rd, most of whom are students, said Dr. Mark Fox, MD, Deputy Health Officer in St. Joseph County.

“Obviously, it’s more than we’d like going into the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Fox.

Campus spokesman Paul Browne said the university has facilities close to the university where students can isolate or quarantine. Dr. Fox said Notre Dame has worked with a number of area hotels to provide housing, although he was unsure which ones were being used currently.

Covid-positive students are medically cleared to leave South Bend after a 10-day isolation period. For close contacts, Fox says the university has an accelerated quarantine track for students who have never shown symptoms and have had two negative tests adequately spaced apart.

“I think a number of students opted to stay here in hopes of being released from quarantine early because if they’d gone home, they would be required to do a full 14-day quarantine,” he explained.

Perhaps surprising to some people, the Clemson weekend festivities and students’ storming the field did not cause a spike in cases.

“I think that’s because [the university] had done focus testing on undergraduates in the week prior to the Clemson game, and so it got a lot of kids who were infected out of circulation,” Fox said. “As I’ve said before, storming the field is not what we would recommend in the midst of the pandemic. And yet, if you’re going to storm the field in a pandemic, doing it with a group that’s been tested ahead of time, the bulk of whom are in masks, is certainly the safest way.”

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