By Alyssa Schnugg
The University of Mississippi received notification today that 13 student-athletes and one employee tested positive for COVID-19, which constitutes an outbreak of cases on campus per the Mississippi State Department of Health’s guidelines.
These individuals were tested earlier this week as part of a mass screening for student-athletes returning to campus and were instructed to quarantine until test results were received. Eleven of the 13 student-athletes are members of the same team. Results of tests on other student-athletes are pending.
Per MSDH guidance, these individuals will be isolated immediately to prevent the spread of the virus. UM and MSDH are conducting contact tracing and will communicate with those who may have been in close contact with these individuals.
During Gov. Tate Reeves press conference Wednesday, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs reported the MSDH is investigating COVID-19 outbreaks at the University of Mississippi and the Mississippi University for Women.
“We’re extremely concerned about colleges,” Dobbs said.
According to the Ole Miss website, as of Monday, there have been 142 positive cases since the school began testing, with about 20 new cases in the last eight days, not including the 14 announced this afternoon.
If you have a kid in college, be careful,” Dobbs said. “Be careful being around them, honestly, because that’s going to be a real risk situation if you’re going to visit your kids. Even if they don’t feel bad, they could give it to aunts, uncles, grandma, etc… So we need to be cautious about that.”
Classes are set to begin at Ole Miss on Monday. While some classes will be conducted remotely, many are scheduled to be held in classrooms on campus.
Reeves said keeping students on campus is important to help stop community spread of the disease.
According to Dr. Dobbs, 132 Mississippi students and 84 teachers have tested positive for COVID-19 and that 1,970 students and 328 teachers and school staff have been quarantined.
“Some schools will have to close temporarily,” Dobbs said. “It’s inevitable, so just be prepared for that.”