Officials at San Diego State University said Monday that 13 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed through testing.
Since the pandemic began, more than 40 students, staff members and vendors/contractors have tested positive for COVID-19 -- 30 of those were students. All of the students connected to the most recent cases are doing well, officials said.
"We are writing to inform you of 13 new cases of COVID-19 among SDSU students," began an email sent out to the "SDSU community" by the school on Monday morning. "The majority of these students live off-campus and sought testing from San Diego State University’s Student Health Services (SHS) Testing Collection Booth. None of the students attended any in-person classes."
Campus officials stressed that none of the students who had most recently tested positive had attended in-person classes. However, "one student also had a brief visit to the SDSU Bookstore," according to authorities.
SDSU started the fall semester last week. Most classes are being held online but about 200 of them require hands-on instruction and will be held in-person with safety measures in mind, the school said. Also last week, members of the Interfraternity Council at SDSU voted to hold all events virtually to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
While San Diego County's move onto the state's newly-created Red Tier on Monday would permit it to allow in-person classes at San Diego State, the college has not made any announcements regarding a departure from its plans for online learning for the fall semester.
As more universities open, officials have struggled with the reality of social interactions on- and off-campus and are also grappling with contingency plans for those who contract the disease.
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SDSU officials said Monday that three of the students who tested positive recently live on-campus at Zapotec, Villa Alvarado Apartments and South Campus Plaza North. One of those students is currently self-isolating off-campus, and the two others are now in a "designated isolation room, per SDSU’s Office of Housing Administration COVID-19 protocol," where they have been supplied with hygiene supplies and are having food delivered.
At Monday's regular county coronavirus update, San Diego's medical director of epidemiology and immunizations service, Eric McDonald, addressed the situation at SDSU.
"The SDSU community is very large," McDonald said. "We’re working closely with leadership and individual housing units both on- and off-campus.... If you think of the SDSU community as a whole, it would appear to be an outbreak, but we are looking at this a little more focused, based on where individuals live and where they have been. "
The university is applying "enhanced disinfection protocols" at areas the infected students visited, including at the building in which they live and the bookstore.
County health officials said on Sunday that 253 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Sunday, for a total of 38,300. Three new COVID-19 deaths were also reported, bringing that total to 682.