Greek life activity, small gatherings cause spike in cases: officials

Officials attribute a recent spike in COVID-19 cases to small social events and Greek life activity, a University spokesperson said.

GW’s COVID-19 dashboard showed 32 cases on Feb. 17, the most cases recorded in one day all semester, followed by 21 and 26 positive tests recorded on two of the next few days. University spokesperson Crystal Nosal said the increase in cases can likely be attributed to gatherings like dinners, birthday celebrations and Greek life activity and encouraged students to maintain social distancing and mask-wearing.

“From a public health standpoint, now more than ever we are encouraging people to continue adhering to safety precautions for COVID-19 such as wearing masks, layering their masks when possible, social distancing and gathering in small groups only when necessary, and preferably outdoors,” Nosal said in an email. “GW students should follow these same recommendations to help get us through this next phase of the pandemic.”

She said in some cases, officials are able to identify small “chains” of viral transmission while others appear to be community-acquired.

Of the 79 positive tests from those three days, all but three of those tests were for students. Almost 60 of those cases came from voluntary tests, according to the dashboard.

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