COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The University of South Carolina has placed two Greek Village houses in quarantine on Monday after officials said several residents tested positive for COVID-19.
One of the houses is Delta Delta Delta, who addressed the situation saying they are working closely with the University and local health authorities to take all necessary steps to isolate and quarantine as directed. The name of the second sorority involved has not been confirmed.
UofSC officials did not release the total number of cases at the houses, but the latest numbers show the university has 44 active cases.
Many students told WIS they felt this was inevitable, saying they believed there were going to be clusters of positive cases with students returning to campus, but many said that they don’t think it means students aren’t taking the virus seriously.
“Most students have been doing there best to do a good job, I’ve seen everyone wearing a mask when walking around,” UofSC first-year student Cameron Ball said.
Ball said despite these efforts, he’s not surprised that new cases are popping up. He’s just glad the university is taking action.
“The quarantining from like sorority houses I think is a good measure and I like what they’ve been doing with that,” Ball said.
University of South Carolina President Bob Caslen released a statement regarding the situation this afternoon.
“We moved quickly to identify positive students and then to quarantine the impacted houses and its residents,” UofSC President Bob Caslen said in a statement. “Our modeling shows that we will see an increase of cases as our students return. I remain confident in our ability to mitigate cases through testing, compliant student behaviors, and the wearing of face coverings. Our campus community can be assured that we will act quickly and decisively if student behaviors are not compliant. The health, safety, and wellbeing of our students is our number one priority, and we will take all appropriate measures to protect and care for the members of our campus community.”
University officials said the positive cases were confirmed using standard and saliva-based testing.
“Many instances some of these individuals are either asymptomatic or their symptoms are very mild,” UofSC School of Pharmacy Dean Stephen Cutler said.
Cutler says they have tested over 2,000 students over the last week using the saliva testing.
“We look at this as being a very important tool in the tool chest,” Cutler said.
Community members said they are happy to see the university take action to mitigate any outbreaks.
“Yes, that’s the way to deal with it, let’s quarantine and move on,” Five Points Association President and owner of Saludas restaurant said.
Cook says Five Points businesses haven’t had issues with students not social distancing or wearing masks.
“I really think that students are buying into the fact that they are part of the greater community,” Cook said.
He said it’s been a smooth transition welcoming 30,000 students back to the Five Points and greater Columbia area.
“I couldn’t be prouder of Columbians, I have not seen any of the crazy stories that I’ve seen in other cities,” Cook said.
The University says out of the thousands of students tested over the last week 1.6% has tested positive.
Officials said the students who tested positive at the two Greek houses were either asymptomatic or experiencing very mild symptoms and will remain in quarantine for 14 days.