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UC San Diego reports 47 student coronavirus infections

About 14,500 students are expected to live on campus at UC San Diego once the fall quarter begins Sept. 28.
About 14,500 students are expected to live on campus at UC San Diego once the fall quarter begins Sept. 28.
(UC San Diego)

Positive test results also were reported for 21 campus employees and 184 health staff and faculty members.

At least 47 UC San Diego students have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus since April 3, a higher figure than the university has been suggesting for months.

UCSD released the number Aug. 24 while also revealing that at least 21 campus employees had tested positive for the virus since June 6 and 184 staff and faculty members in UC San Diego Health and the school’s health sciences program had tested positive since April 22.

The university has been soliciting the public for donations to help underwrite its COVID-19 health care programs and the development of its new public health school. But in recent weeks UCSD officials have declined to discuss aspects of the university’s testing program and how the campus is refining its safety protocols ahead of the fall quarter, which begins Sept. 28.

In March and April, UCSD officials said they had become aware of only a handful of positive tests among students and faculty. In May, UCSD became the first major American research university to offer free voluntary tests to students.

Over a three-week period, 1,300 students took the test and none turned out to be positive, the university said.

That, and the earlier lack of infections, “makes me think that there’s not a lot of virus going on right now — which could change,” Dr. Angela Scioscia, interim executive director of student health and well-being at UCSD, said in late May.

The issue has remained a source of concern at the school because thousands of students lived on campus throughout the summer and the university says it will house 14,500 students this fall.

There’s also concern at major universities from coast to coast. Recently many large schools have reported outbreaks of the virus as they began to reopen for the fall. They include the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which later moved most of its classes online and moved students out of dorms.

UNC also created a highly detailed public dashboard that includes the names of the dormitories where the outbreaks have occurred. UC San Diego does not disclose such information. ◆