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Coronavirus cases rise in Miami University residence halls

Posted at 5:55 PM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 18:05:45-04

OXFORD, Ohio — Miami University senior Binta Toure said it shouldn't surprise anyone that her school is dealing with a spike of COVID-19 cases in the student residence halls.

“What do you really expect when you bring hundreds of students back on campus where they’re in a situation where they have to be in close contact with each other?” she said.

According to Miami’s online COVID-19 data, 18% of the resident halls are at level 4, which is the highest advisory level, because of positive coronavirus cases. In addition, 12% are at level 3, 21% percent are at level 2 and 49% are at level one.

RELATED: More than a third of Miami dorms at most serious level

Miami has had 1,795 positive COVID-19 since Aug. 17. Over 3,600 tests were given to students moving on campus, and 29 positive tests came back from that batch of testing. On Monday, the university reported 41 new cases.

The university said in a statement that testing was done during move-in to make sure students were not bringing COVID-19 to campus, “however, it only detected those who had detectable levels of the virus on the date they were tested.”

The school is also requiring people wear masks everywhere on campus, including inside and outside of buildings.

Toure, a public health major with a concentration in human disease and epidemiology, doesn’t live on campus this semester but explained how the group living situation can lead to the virus spreading.

“From my experience as a freshman, when you come to college for the first time, it’s kind of like your first taste of freedom away from home, and you don’t really make the best decisions,” she said. “If you’re sharing a bathroom with a bunch of other people, how are you going to social distance?”

Butler County, where Miami University's campus is located, is an area already on high alert for coronavirus. The county is currently in red, or the third-highest advisory level, in Ohio.

The Butler County General Health Department has been monitoring coronavirus levels at Miami and has 97 contract tracers working daily to figure out how COVID-19 is spreading all over the county.

“As some students returned to campus, we knew it was going to be important to have a robust response that included testing and contact tracing in order to limit the exposure and spread of the virus,” the health department said in a statement.