Arizona State shifts housing plans as coronavirus cases rise

Sep 1, 2020, 3:03 PM | Updated: 6:14 pm
(Facebook Photo/Arizona State University)...
(Facebook Photo/Arizona State University)
(Facebook Photo/Arizona State University)

PHOENIX – As coronavirus cases at Arizona State University continue to increase, the school will be adjusting housing plans for on-campus students.

“Our numbers are increasing so we need to take additional steps to further fight the spread,” an ASU spokesman said in an email to KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

“With the shift that we announced last night, we’ll be dispersing students out across all of our residence halls, moving some students to different rooms and different residence halls to reduce the density in the dorms.”

The university said it has 5,000 spaces available in the residence halls to begin shifting students housing arrangements.

As of the university’s update on Monday, there were 775 confirmed positive cases among ASU students and 28 cases among faculty members for a total of 803 cases.

Between Friday and Monday’s updates, ASU reported 323 new cases and conducted 3,253 coronavirus tests. Out of that sample, 9.9% of the tests came back positive, indicating a rapid increase and spread of coronavirus cases on campus.

It’s the third update that the university has provided about COVID-19 cases on campus. Students returned to in-person classes Aug. 20.

Of the confirmed cases, 323 are in isolation on the Tempe campus.

428 of these positive cases are off campus in the metro Phoenix area.

The remaining cases are from the downtown Phoenix and West campuses. There are no known positive cases on the Polytechnic campus.

A total of 9,645 students live on the Tempe campus, 1,188 students live on the downtown Phoenix campus and 529 live at the West campus, according to the university.

The school has conducted 40,402 tests, resulting in a 1.98% positivity rate since Aug. 1.

“There’s not one event or one location or one activity that is contributing to the spread,” the ASU spokesman said. “It’s a visit here, a small hangout there and the tendency to congregate, though we’re not seeing ongoing egregious violations. Sometimes it’s just a couple of kids hanging out in a dorm room who take their masks off – it’s a very contagious disease, and it’s spreading.”

On Tuesday, Arizona health officials reported 507 new coronavirus cases and 15 deaths, bringing the state’s totals to 202,342 infections and 5,044 deaths.

However, the state’s weekly positivity rate has held steady at 5% for the past two weeks and daily reported cases have been trending down since the end of June.

The ASU spokesman said the university is constantly reviewing the results of the COVID-19 testing program to help evaluate the next steps to take.

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Arizona State shifts housing plans as coronavirus cases rise