Confirmed cases of COVID-19 at San Diego State University continue to climb.
On Tuesday, college administrators announced that a total of 396 students, living both on-campus and off-campus have tested positive for the virus - a 110 increase over the course of the past two days. They added that there were four probable cases as well.
The number of cases, says the statement from college administrators, is bound to increase.
“We are projecting that COVID-19 cases will continue to increase in the coming days as both HHSA and SDSU expand testing, and given the delay in the onset of symptoms resulting from exposures prior to this past week,” read a September 8 statement.
In response, the college has suspended all on-campus courses other than those with very specific licensing deadlines and accreditation criteria. Those courses, reads the statement, typically only have less than eight students per course.
On Saturday, in an effort to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus amid a surge of cases in the student population, the school issued a stay-at-home order for students living on- and off-campus who are living in the College Area. On Monday, campus officials extended that order for another week, till Sept. 14. SDSU said "violations of this order may result in disciplinary consequences." It did not detail what those consequences would be.
Meanwhile, students say they understand the need for the restrictions.
“I know people who do have it, and so I definitely know that it’s going around, and people are getting in places they wouldn’t necessarily expect – like they’re not going to parties and they’re still getting it,” said SDSU sophomore Olivia Dinardo. “So, I mean I think we’re just trying our best to stay as safe as possible.”
Significantly, none of the cases are connected to in-person attendance at classes or labs, according to officials. Rather, they are believed to be a series of community outbreaks, with the vast majority -- 75 percent -- among students living off-campus. Most of those with the illness -- 73 percent -- are freshman and sophomores, school officials said in a campus communication sent out Tuesday.
Other students aren’t very surprised by the rise in the number of cases.
“Given how many people were allowed back on campus , and how social this school tends to be and how hard it is for them to maintain rules, I’m not too surprised it’s shooting up quickly,” said sophomore Jessica Oatis. “Unfortunately, I think a lot of kids came back, and came back to socialize, so some kids came back with the mentality which sucks.”
Some San Diego residents -- especially business owners -- are concerned that the outbreak on campus will be significant enough to force the county back to the state's more restrictive Purple Tier, which would, among other things, prevent restaurants from serving patrons indoors once again.
Authorities expect the numbers to keep climbing, especially in the event that testing has been expanded on and near campus. Free, no-appointment COVID-19 testing is available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in SDSU's Parking Lot 17 B.