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Miami University working with health officials on testing, contact tracing to get COVID-19 spike under control

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Posted at 10:48 PM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 10:58:10-04

OXFORD, Ohio — Miami University president Gregory Crawford confirms off-campus parties contributed to hundreds of students now testing positive for COVID-19.

“We’ve put a lot of protocols in place to keep everyone safe and healthy,” he said.

The uptick in positive cases at Miami University is a direct contribution to Butler County being coded in the red category in Gov. Mike DeWine’s Public Health Advisory Alert System.

“Miami University is certainly a pack in cases for Butler County,” DeWine said. “Outbreaks for students attending house parties.”

Thursday, Crawford shared the steps the school is taking to get a handle on the increase in cases.

“Working with all our partners,” he said. “Increased our testing strategies. And taken all other actions. Testing broadly is so important here.”

Over the past two weeks, 841 new cases have emerged in Butler County. The vast majority of those came from Miami University students.

“We keep seeing these increases in cases and as the days go on the amount of cases just gets higher and higher,” said Tim Carlin, news editor of The Miami Student.

The university is working with the county health department and other health leaders, hiring contact tracers and ramping up testing – with results available in as soon as 20 minutes.

“I think the implementation of this wide-net surveillance testing for students is a good step to prevent the spread,” Carlin said. “I just don’t know how much more can be done on the university level.”

Crawford said he believes off-campus parties have contributed to the spike and has concerns with the approaching long holiday weekend.

“We’re emphasizing the importance of staying home this Labor Day weekend," he said.

Currently, the plan is for first- and second-year students to return on Sept. 14, but that could change depending on testing numbers following Labor Day weekend.