Credit: Solena Aguilar | Mustang News

Over the past three days, Cal Poly saw the largest increase in on-campus and off-campus student COVID-19 cases recorded this quarter, with 25 on-campus and 27 off-campus students testing positive for COVID-19.

This week, 38 on-campus and 43 off-campus students tested positive for COVID-19, after only seven on-campus and 24 off-campus students tested positive last week, according to the university’s coronavirus dashboard.

Forty-five University Housing residents are in isolation, up 37 from last week.  A record total of 438 on-campus residents are currently quarantined-in-place, 79 beginning the process in the last 72 hours.  This time last week, only 90 students were quarantined-in-place.  The previous record number of quarantine-in-place students at one time was 320 students on Oct. 16.

The spike in cases was caused by by sorority chapters hosting events that did not follow health guidelines, Poly Canyon Village (PCV) residents gathering without following health guidelines, and students “interacting with other students known to be positive for COVID-19 without wearing masks,” according to a campus-wide email sent Thursday. 

As a result, the university is testing about 400 members of sorority chapters that have not been following health guidelines, the email read.

Cal Poly Daily Positive COVID-19 Cases

San Luis Obispo County had 4,496 total confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, Oct. 29 — up 64 cases from the previous day.

Just a week ago, there were 186 active cases, which has increased steadily at first and then rapidly in the past three days to 278 active cases.

The County Public Health Department said this “alarming spike” in cases may have been caused by people who are tired of COVID-19 and health and safety guidelines, a press release read.

“We are all tired of this pandemic, but we can’t afford for our community members to ease up,” County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein wrote in the press release.

Since the start of the pandemic, 4,185 people have recovered from the virus.  There are 278 active cases, and 268 people are recovering at home, seven are hospitalized and three are in intensive care.

Thirty-three people in San Luis Obispo county have died due to COVID-19, one of those deaths occurring in the past week, on Oct. 31.

San Luis Obispo County was approaching the orange, moderate tier of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy last week, but higher case numbers in the past week have pulled the county further from reaching that goal, according to County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein.

“We of course, really, are concerned, we don’t want to go back to purple [tier],” Borenstein said in a press briefing on Tuesday, Nov. 3rd. “That has huge impacts on our community, on our economics, retail, businesses, museums, houses of worship, movie theaters; everyone who’s struggling.”

Borenstein advised people to wear face coverings, maintain physical distance from others, stay home when they are sick and stay within their social bubbles, according to Borenstein.

“We want to move forward, not backward and we can turn this around before it negatively impacts the entire county,” said Borenstein wrote in the press release. 

Testing volume is an important part of what determines the tier of the county, she said.

“I want to acknowledge that Cal Poly University is doing an incredible amount of testing,” Borenstein said. “They are screening a large volume week over week, and that is important to note because this testing volume that they are helping to contribute to also helps to keep us at least in the red zone.”

Total Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in SLO County

The percent of tests that are positive, or testing positivity rate, has also stayed relatively consistent since late September at roughly 2% . Cal Poly’s ongoing testing program has conducted 10,374 tests since Oct. 3.  A total of 1,141 tests were conducted for university employees.

Total COVID-19 Case Breakdown

Paso Robles remains the city with the highest number of total cases (1,127), with San Luis Obispo not far behind (910 cases). Atascadero (429 cases) and Nipomo (370 cases) have the third most and fourth most total cases, respectively.

San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles continue to lead with new cases rising. The rest of the county plateaued in mid-August. 

COVID-19 Cases by City

The majority of COVID-19 cases are in the 18 to 29-years-old age group and the 30 to 49-years-old age group, recording 1,576 and 1,368 cases respectively.

Almost half (44%) of the cases can be attributed to person-to-person contact or in-person spread.

The county reported that 1,990 people contracted the virus from person-to-person contact, 1,075 people contracted the virus from community spread, 228 people contracted the virus through travel and 1,203 cases are under investigation.

For more detailed statistics, see the county’s detailed statistics webpage.

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