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Spike in coronavirus cases at UC Berkeley linked to fraternity parties

Bay Area

BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) — “We’re very concerned to seen such a dramatic increase in a short period time.”

U.C. Berkeley is reporting a spike in coronavirus cases among students — many of which they’ve traced to recent parties connected to fraternities.

47 students have tested in positive in just one week which has official sounding the alarm that if this trend continues. It could change the schools plans for the fall semester.

Officials aren’t revealing which specific fraternities are linked to the recent spike due to privacy concerns, but they want to get the message out that young people need to take this virus seriously.

Health officials were able to trace the majority of these new cases to parties linked to the Cal Greek system.

“We know they were connected to fraternities, so not necessarily parties at a fraternity house but maybe activities with the fraternities going to another event at another location but that association was definitely there,” U.C. Berkeley spokesperson Janet Gilmore said.

Gilmore says these were indoor gatherings where people weren’t wearing masks or social distancing, and some of these infections led to secondary spread within households.  

Health officials with the campus and the city of Berkeley have been using contract tracing to reach people exposed to those students who tested positive, advising them of quarantine requirements and arranging for testing.  

But the fact that their case count tripled in just a week has campus officials concerned about their plans for the fall semester. Currently, large classes are expected to be held remotely with students also being given the option of attending some smaller classes in person.

The habits they want these students to memorize: avoid crowds, do not socialize indoors with people outside your household, wear a mask in public and maintain social distancing.

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