A coronavirus epidemic has affected a number of USC fraternity groups, where about 40 people have tested positive for COVID-19, USC Student Health Chief Health Officer Dr. Sarah Van Orman told the Los Angeles Times.
“A significant number of cases involve four fraternity houses,” Van Orman said. However, the outbreak did not stop there.
In all, about 150 Trojan students and staff have tested positive so far, even as the school has moved the vast majority of classes online, canceled events, limited campus housing, added camouflage requirements, and social distancing and symptom checking measures.
“If we all don’t realize that our only tools right now are physical distancing and wearing masks, we will continue to devastate not only the economy, our education, our academics, our jobs, but people are dying,”
California Coronavirus Update: Deaths Increase Dramatically Last Week When Records Fall
In total, LA County confirmed 2,628 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. To date, the county has identified 185,872 positive cases of COVID-19 in all areas of LA County. The day before, the region registered 4,825 new coronavirus infections. This is a record number of new cases in one day
While people over the age of 60 were much more common at the onset of coronavirus cases in LA, most infections in the area were reported in people between the ages of 18 and 49.
Meanwhile, the university announced on Thursday that it would begin increasing an minimum of 500 tests a day for students and faculty and staff in August. It will create three monitored sampling points and eventually move to an unnoticed self-collection model to increase access to fast, convenient and efficient monitoring tests, according to Van Orman.
“By increasing our testing capacity, we will be able to capture and control the sources of infection faster,” said Van Orman.
She added that the partnership with Color, a company that specializes in distributed health and clinical trials, “will expand our knowledge of the prevalence and detection of asymptomatic cases in the USC so that we can make better informed healthcare decisions.”
The program is implemented through Color testing technology and infrastructure, including on-site risk screening management software and distributed logistics for testing and sample processing.
The Population Testing Program, called Pop Testing, is set to begin next month with the current components of the summer campus and expand to a larger campus population in the fall semester.
On Thursday, the region reported 41 new COVID-related deaths over the same 24-hour period, for a total of 4,552 lives lost by the virus.
However, LA County Health officials warn that “More than 2,000 of these cases are lagging behind in laboratory records.” With that in mind, the director said, “We’re really about 1,000 times taller than a month ago.”
City News Service contributed to this report.