CORAL GABLES, FLA. (WSVN) – A total of four students at the University of Miami campus in Coral Gables have tested positive for COVID-19, days after the start of the fall semester.
The university also said several other students began showing symptoms, so Friday night, dozens of students remain isolated in their dormitories at the Florence Hecht Residential College.
“I feel a little scared because I don’t want an outbreak happening and getting sent home,” freshman Joanna Howson said.
Officials said 51 students in that dorm have been instructed to quarantine either in their rooms on campus or at home.
The new cases come on the same day Miami-Dade County passed another milestone in the coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, the Florida Department of Health reported that the county had topped over 150,000 confirmed virus infections.
“I think all of us are kind of like knew that it would happen but weren’t really expecting it, so when we heard, it was honestly shocking,” freshman Lindsay Endicott said.
In the last 24 hours, the health department reported 4,684 new cases of the virus and 119 deaths statewide. There were over 1,100 cases in Miami-Dade County alone, and there were over 500 new cases in Broward County and 12 new cases in Monroe County.
“All signs all seem to be pointing in the right direction downward, but we are moving slowly and are still higher than we were in April,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said.
“We haven’t reached the ideal point to open up more businesses just yet, and believe me, I’m the first one who wants to get our economy moving again,” Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said.
National health experts said reopening businesses can come sooner rather than later should everyone adhere to the guidelines.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield issued a call to action as the U.S. passed 5.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 174,000 deaths.
He said the U.S. could get coronavirus under control in around three months, but it would take 90% of Americans wearing masks and social distancing.
“It’s in our hands. It’s in our grasp,” Redfield said. “It is going to require all of us to embrace these mitigation steps, and we’re going to need to do that for four, six, eight, 10, 12 weeks.”
Freshman students at the university said they will be glad to follow the restrictions to help the country reopen.
“Purell stations everywhere, social distancing in classrooms, like they redesigned the whole school,” freshman Josh Roit said.
“Keeping your mask on, sanitizing, not really — it’s frustrating because you’re trying to make friends, but you also have to realize it’s a new world. It’s changed,” freshman Gianna De Herrera said.
Faculty who held in-person classes with those affected students have been notified, officials said.
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