USC says 'alarming increase' in COVID-19 cases, more than 100 students in quarantine

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USC says 'alarming increase' in COVID-19 cases, more than 100 students in quarantine

More than 100 students at the University of Southern California have been placed under a mandatory two-week quarantine after officials say there wa

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More than 100 students at the University of Southern California have been placed under a mandatory two-week quarantine after officials say there was a rise in COVID-19 cases originating in off-campus housing.

USC Student Health saw “an alarming increase in the number of COVID-19 cases” among students in the University Park Campus community just one week into the fall semester, the school announced in a health advisory Monday.

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In the seven-day period, the school had already identified 14 cases through asymptomatic population testing and an additional 29 cases through contact tracing and testing of symptomatic and exposed individuals, officials said.

All of the cases had been traced back to students who are living in off-campus housing.

Students on the USC campus in Los Angeles on August 17, 2020.  (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Students on the USC campus in Los Angeles on August 17, 2020.  (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

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“This increase comes despite the continued state and county health guidance that significantly restricts in-person instruction and on-campus activities for universities located in counties that are on the state’s COVID-19 monitoring list, including Los Angeles County,” USC said

Officials say it “appears highly unlikely current conditions will significantly change” in the coming weeks.

In its most recent notice, officials said the county may “grant a small number of exceptions” for certain classes and activities that cannot be delivered virtually but that “those decisions have not yet been made.”

Until then, the school is “strongly” discouraging students from returning to campus until further notice.

In July, the school reported a rise in cases among houses located on 28th Street, which is reportedly where its fraternity houses are located.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health later announced that about 45 students connected to USC fraternities had tested positive for the virus, according to multiple reports.

The health department’s investigation came just after USC established that it would move to mostly online classes for the fall semester, a reversal of an earlier decision to welcome students back to campus for a hybrid model of on-campus and virtual teaching.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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