By Gracie Kitayama and Sophie Kroesche

Nine students living on-campus and 17 students living off-campus tested positive for COVID-19 since Wednesday, Nov. 4, according to the university’s coronavirus dashboard updated Thursday afternoon, Nov. 5. 

University officials called this increase in cases a “significant jump,” in a campus-wide email.

The increase in cases was caused 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,” President Jeffrey Armstrong and Vice President of Student Affairs Keith Humphrey wrote in a campus-wide email.

As a result of the spike in cases, Cal Poly will increase testing for students thought to participate in “high risk activities,” the email read. 

The university is in the middle of testing about 400 members of multiple sorority chapters who have not been following health and safety guidelines, according to the email.  

“It only takes a few people ignoring health and safety guidelines to put everyone at risk, not only of illness but of a renewed shutdown of campus,” Armstrong and Humphrey wrote in the email. 

An additional 79 students living on-campus are quarantined-in-place following potential COVID-19 exposure in University Housing, bringing the total number of students quarantined-in-place to 438.  

According to yesterday’s coronavirus dashboard update, only 170 University Housing residents were recorded as quarantined-in-place.  There was “a lag” in yesterday’s dashboard update, University Spokesperson Matt Lazier wrote in an email to Mustang News. This lag is reflected in today’s dashboard update, explaining the 268 person increase of quarantined-in-place students.

A lag may occur when the university reports a new isolation on the dashboard, but does not report any associated quarantines, according to Lazier. Alternatively, some students test positive for COVID-19, and there will be no associated quarantines. For example, if a student lived in their own apartment or if a student was already quarantined, other students would not have been exposed to this positive case, and no other students would need to go into quarantine. 

Forty-five students living on-campus are isolated in on-campus apartments after testing positive for COVID-19. 

A person who tests positive for the virus may be released from isolation ten days after they first had symptoms, if the symptoms have improved and they have not had a fever in 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medication. 

Thirty-three University Housing residents after quarantined exposure to someone with COVID-19, according to the dashboard.  People who were exposed to COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days. There are 103 remaining isolation and quarantine beds available in the county. 

San Luis Obispo County reported 74 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, Nov. 5, according to County Public Health.  There are 278 active COVID-19 cases in the county.

Seven COVID-19 patients are hospitalized and three people are in intensive care. An additional 268 people are recovering from the virus at home. Thirty-three people have died from COVID-19 in the county.

Armstrong and Humphrey asked that students self-quarantine for two weeks before leaving the city if they have been “engaged in high risk activities.”

“We do not want unsafe behavior to lead you to unknowingly spread the virus to others, here or elsewhere,” they wrote in the email. 

Stephanie Zappelli contributed reporting to this piece. 

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