Seton Hall University reported 16 new cases of COVID-19 this past week for the school’s largest single-week increase since the pandemic began, according to a report in The Setonian and notifications from the University’s spokesperson and COVID-19 Reported Case webpage.
The new cases bring the Seton Hall University’s total number since reopening for the fall semester to 29.
“On October 22, our testing protocols detected four students who tested positive for COVID-19, and the University also learned that a fifth student tested positive off-campus,” said Laurie Pine, SHU spokeswoman. “All of these students live off-campus or commute from their homes. Two of the positive cases were identified through contact tracing from a previously reported case, Pine said, and three of the students have already been quarantining off-campus. “All have received isolation instructions. Any contacts identified in our community have been notified along with the local Department of Health. Health Services continues to follow up on students who have tested positive; all are doing well.”
Pine followed up with another email on Saturday morning, stating, “On October 23, our testing protocols detected five students who tested positive for COVID-19, and the University also learned that an employee tested positive off-campus. Health Services identified the students through contact tracing related to the previously reported cases. The students all live off-campus and have not been on campus recently. The employee was last on campus yesterday. All have received isolation instructions and are now in quarantine. Any contacts identified in our community have been notified along with the local Department of Health.”
Pine said she dd not have information on where the off-campus students lived or where they were isolating.
Just on Wednesday afternoon, Pine reported that the university announced three new cases since October 17; one a student at the South Orange campus and two others students at the Nutley campus. Those cases were not said to be related, and the university noted the risk of exposure to the rest of the SHU community was “believed to be low.”
The SHU Reported Cases dashboard notes that on October 21, testing protocols detected four students who tested positive for the virus, three of which appeared to be related to a case reported on October 20. This is the first time the university has reported cases that appear to be connected, rather than isolated events. Three of those newly-diagnosed students live off-campus, while the fourth lives on-campus and is quarantining at Ora Manor, according to the Setonian, which reported that the students’ contacts had been notified through contact tracing with the South Orange Department of Health.
See more info from SHU on testing, contact tracing and quarantining/isolation below.
“There does not appear to be any additional risks to the community other than the ones that already exist,” said South Orange OEM Coordinator Scott Egelberg on October 23, before the six additional cases were reported for a weekly total of 16. “Whenever the community hears of anyone contracting the virus, hopefully it reminds residents to wear a mask, practice social distancing and follow all COVID guidelines.”
Egelberg said the township supports Seton Hall’s efforts to contain the coronavirus, and commends the university on keeping infected students and staff isolated. “We were very happy recently when the University updated their guidelines to increase testing as it pertains to their students. This was a necessary step to help detect as many cases as possible. They have also increased their communications to students to ensure they are up to date on all relevant COVID guidelines.”
He continued, “As cases come in, we feel that Seton Hall has done very well to keep infected students and staff isolated. We always knew having cases would be inevitable, but the University appears to be following all the necessary protocols to ensure that everyone on campus and the surrounding community are kept safe and healthy. All contact tracing of students residing on campus or in the surrounding community is done primarily by the South Orange Department of Health. Seton Hall has been extremely helpful with contact tracing when their students are involved and have been able to provide access to any infected persons on campus.”
More information on Screening, Testing, and Contact Tracing Protocols, from an SHU spokeswoman:
- Seton Hall will provide isolation housing, food service, academic support, health monitoring, required transportation and other essential services for residential students who test positive for COVID-19.
- Seton Hall will also provide quarantine housing, as well as food service, academic support, health monitoring, required transportation, and other essential services to residential students who are identified as close contacts of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Care for Students Who Develop COVID-19 Symptoms:
South Orange Campus:
A student who develops COVID-19 symptoms or has been in close contact with another person diagnosed with COVID-19 should call Health Services (973-761-9175).
- Students will be advised to schedule a telehealth or in-person appointment.
- Students will be screened for respiratory symptoms and temperature before entering Health Services.
- Students will be assessed if they need to quarantine, be tested for COVID-19, and/or be referred for a higher level of care.
- The waiting area at Health Services will be configured to allow physical distancing and be limited to well patient visits for no more than 10-minute wait times.
- An exam room has been designated for care of patients requiring COVID-19 testing and treatment.
- A triage system for students requiring self-isolation or quarantine has been established. Resident students who can return home (within a day’s drive/300 miles) will be advised to quarantine at home. Resident students who cannot return home will self-isolate/quarantine at a residence area designated by the University (Ora Hall).
- Students requiring a higher level of medical care will be referred to St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, NJ.
October 24, 2020: This article was updated with reports of another 5 students and one staffer who tested positive on October 23, 2020.
October 23, 2020: This article has been updated with information on another positive test, and with details on SHU’s student isolation/quarantining process.