UNF: Reported COVID-19 cases on campus lower than expected

As colleges and universities open across the country, some are reporting hundreds of COVID-19 cases.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As colleges and universities open across the country, some are reporting hundreds of COVID-19 cases.

But in Northeast Florida, several campuses are reporting much lower numbers.

According to the University of North Florida, there have been 27 new positive cases since Aug.18, the day after classes resumed. That includes 21 students and six employees.

“Our rates have been very low and I’ve been surprised,” said Dr. Doreen Perez, UNF COVID Coordinator. “I also sit on the American College Health Association Task Force for COVID and we’re seeing bigger numbers at other universities so I think the students should be commended for doing a good job of wearing their masks and social distancing. We also had a lot of students that were able to decide whether they wanted to do face-to-face or virtual education and I think we’re seeing students do that as well.”

According to a database from the New York Times, the University of Central Florida in Orlando has reported a total of 727 Coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, one of the highest totals in the country.

UNF offers free walk-in testing to students and employees funded by the CARES Act. On Thursday morning, Dr. Perez said it conducted 50 tests before 10:30 a.m.

“The fact that we are testing and being able to even identify asymptomatic cases is a tremendous help to stopping the spread,” said Dr. Perez.

According to UNF, walk-in testing is available Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Osprey Landing.

Jacksonville University reported two active cases as of Thursday afternoon, according to the school’s online dashboard.

At Flagler College, Dr. Sandra Miles, Vice President for Student Affairs, told News4Jax its percent positive is less than one percent.

“I think it has to do with the fact that we are a small campus and there are a lot of students that are really invested in this community, they don’t see themselves as a number, they see themselves as part of the Flagler family,” explained Dr. Miles.

If a Flagler student tests positive, Dr. Miles said they conduct contact tracing and the student isolates on campus or can be picked up by a parent.

The campus has a designated space for a student to isolate.

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