WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The University of North Carolina Wilmington announced this week that surveys taken by the school indicates that 85 percent of staff are vaccinated, along with 71 percent of on-campus students and 53 percent of off-campus students.
The university has set aside 150 beds for quarantine or isolation of on-campus students. As of Wednesday afternoon, 88 of those beds are full, which is 22 fewer than the peak of 110 reported last Friday.
According to the school’s COVID-19 dashboard, there are currently over 500 active cases in the campus community, with over half of those coming from residential students.
Health officials in New Hanover County say the spread of COVID-19 on UNCW’s campus is concerning, but note that maintaining a traditional college experience during the pandemic has been challenging.
“It’s very difficult to try to provide classroom instruction in a campus environment- as all the professors and students want- while trying to combat the virus,” said New Hanover County Health Director David Howard.
The spread of COVID-19 at UNCW has slowed over the past week. Just 80 positive cases have been reported so far this week, compared to 434 total cases last week.
“The assumption that college-age kids, young adults, don’t have an issue with COVID,” said Howard. “That may very well be true for 95+ percent of them. The issue we have, of course, and UNCW has is there’s off-campus students and the multitude of potential contacts they have in the community to pass it to the next person, to the next person, to the next person, and three for five people down the line. That person is susceptible to serious illness and hospitalization.”
New Hanover County says they have case investigators and contact tracers at UNCW to help with investigations and contact tracing after positive results, but Assistant Health Director Carla Turner stresses that their information is only as good as what students are willing to share with them.
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