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Off-campus “super-spreader” event linked to 125 virus cases at Monmouth University

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An off-campus “super-spreader” event has led to 125 coronavirus cases at Monmouth University in New Jersey, the university’s president said in an open letter to students.

Through extensive contact tracing, the rise in cases was linked to a single event held about two weeks ago, Monmouth president Patrick Leahy wrote Friday. This event was held off-campus, although school officials did not specify what kind of event it was, only calling it a “social gathering.” 

Since August 24, Monmouth has reported over 319 coronavirus cases. According to the school’s COVID-19 dashboard, only 96 of those cases are considered active, while the other 223 account for recovered cases. 

The school has not yet determined whether fully remote learning will continue for the rest of the fall semester. In his open letter, Leahy emphasized how important testing and social distancing was to the status of the fall semester. 

“I cannot emphasize enough the critical importance of compliance with Monmouth University COVID-19 protocols and State of New Jersey health and safety measures to effectively protect the Monmouth community,” Leahy wrote on Friday. “The future of our fall semester will rest, in large part, on the ability of everyone to follow these necessary protocols.”

These new cases are a part of New Jersey’s increase in weekly positive cases. According to Johns Hopkins University, the state had at least 469 new cases reported in the last seven days, bringing Jersey’s total case count to 214,097. 

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Monmouth University ‘super-spreader event’ led to 125 Covid cases on New Jersey campus

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A “super-spreader event” near Monmouth University led to positive coronavirus tests for more than 100 students and forced the school into all-online classes, officials said Tuesday.

The outbreak was traced to a single off-campus private gathering that resulted in 125 positive Covid-19 cases among the West Long Branch school’s nearly 5,700 pupils, Monmouth spokeswoman Tara Peters told NBC News.

The university would not specify what kind of event it was or when exactly it occurred, only saying it was a “social gathering” that happened roughly two weeks ago.

Before the outbreak, about two-thirds of fall classes were online, about a tenth were in-person and the rest were hybrid online/in-person, according to Peters. Now all classes are being held remotely.

“Our Health Services staff estimate that about 125 cases were connected to that event, either through attendance at the event or subsequent spreading to others by individuals in attendance,” Peters said, adding that all of those “individuals are out of isolation and counted as recovered.”

In an open letter to campus on Friday, Monmouth President Patrick Leahy pleaded with students to follow health and safety protocols.

“It appears that this increase in cases among students was tied to an off-campus event hosted two weeks ago. An overwhelming majority of the recent cases we have seen can be traced back to this isolated super-spreader event,” Leahy said.

“I cannot emphasize enough the critical importance of compliance with Monmouth University Covid-19 protocols and State of New Jersey health and safety measures to effectively protect the Monmouth community.”

Woodrow Wilson Hall on Monmouth University's campus in 2017. (Seth Wenig / AP file)
Woodrow Wilson Hall on Monmouth University’s campus in 2017. (Seth Wenig / AP file)

Leahy’s statement came the same day that Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force,said she feared private gatherings — and not mass, public events — are now

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“Super-spreader” event linked to 125 virus cases at university

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An off-campus “super-spreader” event has led to 125 coronavirus cases at Monmouth University in New Jersey, the university’s president said in an open letter to students.



a close up of a flower garden in front of a building: Monmouth University


© Seth Wenig / AP
Monmouth University

Through extensive contact tracing, the rise in cases was linked to a single event held about two weeks ago, Monmouth president Patrick Leahy wrote Friday. This event was held off-campus, although school officials did not specify what kind of event it was, only calling it a “social gathering.” 

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Since August 24, Monmouth has reported over 319 coronavirus cases. According to the school’s COVID-19 dashboard, only 96 of those cases are considered active, while the other 223 account for recovered cases. 

The school has not yet determined whether fully remote learning will continue for the rest of the fall semester. In his open letter, Leahy emphasized how important testing and social distancing was to the status of the fall semester. 

“I cannot emphasize enough the critical importance of compliance with Monmouth University COVID-19 protocols and State of New Jersey health and safety measures to effectively protect the Monmouth community,” Leahy wrote on Friday. “The future of our fall semester will rest, in large part, on the ability of everyone to follow these necessary protocols.”

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These new cases are a part of New Jersey’s increase in weekly positive cases. According to Johns Hopkins University, the state had at least 469 new cases reported in the last seven days, bringing Jersey’s total case count to 214,097. 

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Utah COVID Cases Rise, University Hospital ICU at 95 Percent Capacity

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The intensive care unit at the University of Utah Health hospital has reached 95 percent capacity, according to Dr. Emily Spivak, associate professor of medicine, division of infectious diseases at the university.



Employees at Spectrum Solutions assembling COVID-19 saliva test kits on September 21 in Draper, Utah. The intensive care unit (ICU) at the University of Utah Health hospital was reported to have reached 95 percent on Thursday, while average daily new cases across the state were on an upward trend in the past two weeks.


© George Frey/Getty Images
Employees at Spectrum Solutions assembling COVID-19 saliva test kits on September 21 in Draper, Utah. The intensive care unit (ICU) at the University of Utah Health hospital was reported to have reached 95 percent on Thursday, while average daily new cases across the state were on an upward trend in the past two weeks.

The hospital provides care for residents in Utah as well as “residents of five surrounding states in a referral area encompassing more than 10 percent of the continental U.S.,” according to its LinkedIn profile.

Speaking at the state’s weekly press conference on Thursday, Dr. Spivak said: “Our hospital is getting full. Our ICU is getting full. It was 95 percent full this morning.”

“As a physician, as a mother and a concerned citizen, I plead with you, wear a mask at all times out of your home.”

The chief executive officer at the University of Utah Health, Dr. Michael Good, said at a Tuesday briefing: “We began in early September seeing this dramatic increase in the number of new coronavirus cases reported each day.

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“Hospital trends across the state, and here at University Hospital, [are] showing increasing hospitalization for coronavirus.

“The increase in the number of deaths is just now starting to turn up…unfortunately, the hospitalization, as measured by the number of people in the hospital, continues to increase.

“Fortunately, we’ve seen a little bit of a leveling off in those that are in the ICU. So, there still is this general trend upward, but with a

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Metro Denver counties with rising COVID-19 cases hope public education, targeted orders will stave off new stay-at-home mandates

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New COVID-19 cases have increased in much of the Denver metro area, and county health departments are trying to persuade their residents they need to keep their distance to avoid new stay-at-home orders.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s new dial framework places each county in one of five color-coded levels, with increasing restrictions on business capacity and event sizes.

Each county’s level is based on the rate of new cases compared to population, the percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive and how hospitalizations are trending.

As of Friday, 15 counties, or almost one-quarter of the state’s counties, had rates of new cases that could push them to issue additional restrictions if nothing changes. They get at least two weeks to bring the numbers down before more restrictions are on the table, though.

Unlike this spring, when businesses across the state were ordered to shut down, counties are trying to avoid closing large numbers of facilities through awareness campaigns, or targeting orders at populations where the virus is spreading more freely.

John Douglas, executive director of the Tri-County Health Department, said it appears private gatherings are causing a significant portion of the spread in Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties. It’s difficult to be sure, though, because not everyone is cooperating when contact tracers call, he said.

Counties could take action if they get multiple complaints about a household hosting unsafe numbers of people, but most of their efforts are focused on convincing people to wear their masks and keep their distance from others until a vaccine is approved, Douglas said. People are tired of social distancing, but sticking with it increases the odds of avoiding a winter surge and new stay-at-home orders, he said.

“The higher we are through the month of October and early November, the

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