ODU reports coronavirus outbreak at residence hall

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Old Dominion University says there is a 14-person coronavirus outbreak at a residence hall.

The outbreak is in the Whitehurst residence hall, which is home to 389 students.

“As part of Old Dominion University’s commitment to transparency and the timely sharing of information, we want to make you aware that our COVID-19 testing has identified what could be the beginning of an uptick in positive results among symptomatic and asymptomatic students who live on campus,” ODU wrote in a safety warning.

There are also cases in other residence halls that are being monitored, the university said. There doesn’t appear to be any coronavirus spread through in-person instruction or in the workplace as of Thursday.

The school said it’s doing the following in response:

  • Same day-testing for symptomatic students and 24-hour test results for asymptomatic students
  • Contact tracing and quarantine/isolation protocols as soon as there’s a positive test.
    • Students in isolation or quarantine are provided:
      • Regular health care and mental well-being checkups.
      • Extra help from staff to move their on-campus classes to online learning. They also get help coordinating alternate support, including tutoring and make-up tests for any missed days.
      • Delivery of meals to students’ rooms.
  • All Whitehurst residents will be tested. Testing will also be available to Whitehurst staff.

Starting Friday, the university is also taking extra precautions in its residence halls:

  • Closing community rooms and gathering spaces.
  • Decreasing maximum attendance at gatherings from 50 to 25 people.
  • Immediate interim suspension for anyone violating the COVID-19 policy
  • Reducing capacity for the Student Recreation Center from 20 percent to 15 percent maximum occupancy.
  • Temporarily closing the Whitehurst POD Market.

ODU started classes August 29 with on-campus, online and hybrid learning. The university canceled all fall sports, including football, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The school has cleaning, signage and social distancing protocols in place to help combat the spread.

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