By Daniel Robillard || Investigative Reporter
Franklin & Marshall is seeing its highest spike in COVID-19 cases since the College began keeping track after opening campus in late August. There are currently 13 active cases, according to Alan Caniglia, the College’s Vice President for Strategic Initiatives.
The College had gone nearly one full month without a single reported case until four students tested positive during modified universal testing conducted early last week. On Friday, the College conducted an additional round of surveillance testing for a student group with which the positive individuals were associated. Of the 72 students that were tested on Friday, 8 received positive test results, a more than 11% positivity rate for that particular round of testing.
In an email to students, faculty, and professional staff, Caniglia said that the cases were limited to a few small groups and that there was “no indication of a superspreader event.”
The 13 current positive cases nearly double F&M’s previous highest case total, 7, which came at the end of September. As a result of the recent spike in positive cases, 42 students are currently in quarantine or isolation in Schnader Hall or in off-campus housing, F&M President Barbara Altmann told The College Reporter on Sunday.
Although the recent spike in cases may be currently limited to a few small groups, cases across Lancaster county and Pennsylvania have been skyrocketing in recent days. This past Thursday, November 5th, Lancaster County set a record for new COVID-19 cases with 169. Pennsylvania also set a record with 3,898 cases that same day. Hospitals have also begun to feel the strain as cases begin to spike. In Lancaster County this weekend, 68 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19, the highest number yet.
Lancaster County school districts have also faced increasing cases, with more than 200 cases reported thus far.
If the recent spike in cases at F&M is indeed limited, the College will be approaching the end of the fall semester largely having defied the odds, with case counts going into double-digits only once the entire year.
Junior Daniel Robillard is an Investigative Reporter. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.