Eighty UI students isolate, quarantine in special rooms

The+northern+entryway+to+Weston+Hall+rests+quietly+on+Wednesday+morning.+Some+of+the+students+in+quarantine+are+currently+residing+in+the+northeast+section+of+the+first+floor+of+Weston+Hall.

Ryan Ash

The northern entryway to Weston Hall rests quietly on Wednesday morning. Some of the students in quarantine are currently residing in the northeast section of the first floor of Weston Hall.

By Ethan Simmons, News Editor

According to officials at the University and Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, 80 University students were staying in dedicated isolation and quarantine rooms on campus and in C-U on Tuesday.

Of the 80 students, 66 were staying in University Housing rooms for students who were infected with COVID-19 or were exposed to someone with the virus, said University spokesperson Robin Kaler.

Another 14 students were residing in CUPHD quarantine rooms inside local hotels, said Julie Pryde of CUPHD.

Not all of these students have tested positive for the virus. In University Housing, 30 are being isolated for a positive test, and the other 36 have been quarantined due to potential exposure identified by CUPHD contact tracers.

“Quarantine means you have been identified by CUPHD as someone who was in close proximity for a certain amount of time with someone who has tested positive,” Kaler said. “Isolation means you tested positive. Both categories are in the set aside rooms.”

Additionally, not every student who has tested positive for the virus is isolating in University Housing or CUPHD-held hotel rooms, Pryde said. Some are staying in their on-campus homes, or traveled back to their hometowns.

However, once a student enters a quarantine room, he or she cannot return to day-to-day life for 14 calendar days since last close contact with a COVID-19-positive person. A negative test doesn’t allow one to leave.

“You cannot test out of it, you cannot have people in, you cannot go out of it,” Pryde said. “You only leave if you need to have emergency medical care.”

Faculty and staff who test positive are also being assisted by CUPHD to find isolation rooms, Kaler said.

Over 400 University rooms have been dedicated to students who are quarantining or isolating for COVID-19, Kaler said in a Friday briefing.

The number of rooms is likely to increase, as many students opted not to return to campus this year so more rooms are available, she said.

CUPHD has recently beefed up its contact tracing team. On Friday, Pryde said the district brought on 35 new contact tracers, upping the district’s total to 150 employees.  

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