PROVIDENCE, RI (CBS) – Providence College is the latest institution dealing with a growing coronavirus outbreak. Last week, the private Catholic college reported more than 80 positive cases of the virus. As of Monday, the number of current and active student cases has grown to 175, according to college spokesman Steven Maurano.
Maurano told WBZ-TV the source of the outbreak is not known but most of the students who tested positive live off campus. The outbreak is among the largest in New England, forcing the school, of about 4,800 students, to switch to remote learning. Students have been told to stay indoors. The Rhode Island Department of Health is investigating the outbreak and says it has traced roughly 250 close contacts.
“All students off campus, who have either tested positive or who have been identified as a close contact, have been moved to either isolation or quarantine, as necessary,” said Maurano in an e-mail. “We have a partnership effort between Providence College, Providence Police and area landlords [in] patrolling the off-campus area to enforce the stay-at-home order.”
No students have been hospitalized. Off-campus students who have tested positive or have been identified as a close contact, can return home if “they can drive there without stopping. And there is no one at home who is at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19,” according to the school’s website.
“There’s definitely kids who have just been negligent to the whole quarantining,” said senior Jeffrey Acosta. “Everyone does have a role to play. I can’t really speak for another person, but I just know I can put my role in and [set] my example.”
Acosta lives off campus, he and his housemates tested negative when they moved in earlier this month.
They’ll be tested again this week. Junior Alexandra Parisi is also trying to lead by example. The Lynnfield native lives on-campus and has decided to stay put and wait out the lockdown.
“It’s so frustrating. One of my best friends lives in a different dorm and I can’t really see her because of this COVID situation. You can’t even see people who live on other floors,” Parisi said. “I think [what’s] more frustrating for everyone [is] about the online classes. Because online classes are very, very difficult.”
The college’s stay-at-home order expires Sunday.