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COVID-19 outbreak spreads at Cal State Long Beach, with 17 more students infected

Students walk near Lough Memorial Fountain at Cal State Long Beach.
Students walk near Lough Memorial Fountain at Cal State Long Beach. A total of 22 people in the university community are infected with the coronavirus, officials said.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

After locking down the campus over the weekend following a small COVID-19 outbreak among students, Cal State Long Beach officials on Tuesday announced that 17 additional undergrads have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Off-campus gatherings led to the new cases, the university said in a news release. There are now 22 confirmed coronavirus cases among students.

School officials announced Saturday that five students had contracted the virus following social gatherings off campus earlier in the month. As a result, 328 on-campus residents were required to quarantine, and the university paused in-person instruction for two weeks.

University spokesman Gregory Woods said in an email Wednesday that as of now, the campus has no plans to extend the temporary suspension of in-person classes.

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“As you know, we took a conservative approach to the fall semester by vastly reducing the number of students in our residence halls and the number of classes offered on campus,” Cal State Long Beach President Jane Close Conoley wrote in the Saturday announcement. “Unfortunately, even with our proactive efforts, we need to adapt and respond to this new challenge.”

The nation’s largest public university system, one of the first to decide to go virtual in fall 2020, will continue remotely in January 2021, Chancellor Timothy P. White announced.

In conjunction with the rest of the Cal State University system, most of Cal State Long Beach’s courses are already online.

Some classes — such as hospitality management, kinesiology, nursing, recreation and leisure studies, physical therapy and speech-language pathology — meet in person for “essential learning experiences,” according to the university website. Students are required to fill out a health questionnaire every day before arriving on campus, wear masks and maintain social distance.

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The university asked students living off campus to self-isolate. Some residing on campus elected to quarantine elsewhere, leaving 206 isolating on campus. The students who have tested positive are staying in a separate building, officials said.

Cal State Long Beach will periodically test residential students who have tested negative, Woods said Wednesday.

“Those who have tested positive for the illness are either asymptomatic or report mild symptoms,” chief of medical staff Kimberly Fodran wrote in an update Tuesday.

Fodran added that the university will be exploring disciplinary actions for the students “who placed themselves and [the Cal State Long Beach] community at risk.”


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