ODU identifies COVID-19 outbreak at Gresham Main residence hall among 7 individuals


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Old Dominion University (ODU) announced Wednesday they have identified an outbreak among seven individuals at a residence hall.

The alert released by the university says that the outbreak was found via COVID-19 testing among symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals who reside in the Gresham Main residence hall, which houses 116 students.

“While it appears this outbreak originated at an off-campus social event, all residential students are reminded to follow the health safety measures in place on and off campus to reduce the spread of this virus,” the alert says.

ODU officials say they are monitoring cases in other residence halls and are taking the necessary precautions to prevent the spread or another outbreak.

ODU started classes August 29 with on-campus, online and hybrid learning. The university canceled all fall sports, including football, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“To reduce community spread in this residential building all community rooms and gatherings spaces have been sanitized. The University has also recently installed needlepoint bipolar ionization units in Gresham, a new technology that saturates the building’s air with ions. These ions have been shown to attach themselves to aerosolized virus molecules, breaking down virus’ outer protein wall and rendering them inactive and unable to spread.”

The school said it’s doing the following in response:

  • Same day-testing for symptomatic students and 24-hour test results for asymptomatic students
  • Contact tracing and quarantine/isolation protocols as soon as someone tests positive.
  • Students in isolation or quarantine are provided special attention:
    • They receive regular health care and mental well-being checkups.
    • University staff work with students to move their on-campus classes to online learning to avoid interrupting their learning and coordinate any alternate support, including tutoring and make-up tests for any missed days, where needed.
    • ODU staff prepare and deliver meals to students’ rooms.
  • Testing of all Gresham Main and Rogers residents. Testing will also be available to staff in these buildings.
  • Officials say there is no indication of spread through in-person instruction or in the workplace.

The school has cleaning, signage, and social distancing protocols in place to help combat the spread. The outbreak is per the Virginia Department of Health standards.

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