More than 60 infected after COVID-19 outbreak at Concordia University in Irvine

A campus update sent out to the Concordia community stated the outbreak was revealed through routine antigen testing of students.

Jessica De Nova Image
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
COVID-19 outbreak at Concordia University infects over 60
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A coronavirus outbreak at Concordia University in Irvine has resulted in more than 60 cases.

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- Dominic Castro, a student at Concordia University in Irvine, was surprised to hear on Monday that there are 49 active cases of students with COVID-19 and another 16 cases from on-campus employees reported at his school.

A campus update sent out to the Concordia community last Saturday stated the outbreak was revealed through routine antigen testing of students before Thanksgiving break.

University President Dr. Michael Thomas expects confirmation from PCR tests from the Orange County Health Care Agency by Wednesday.

"These tests were not prompted by any symptomatic individuals. They were done out of an abundance of caution in order to protect families. This additional testing on top of our routine testing, connected to athletics for example, explains the spike in positive cases," Thomas said.

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According to the update, those affected are either in isolation or quarantined, getting daily health checks and meal and laundry services.

Courses transitioned back to online instruction on Monday, Nov. 23.

"The positive cases seem related to friend groups and roommate groups and perhaps some athletic pods. We're having the students train in pods," Thomas said.

Castro, who is a graduate student on the lacrosse team, said he felt safe about the protocols his pod followed, but he was glad to leave campus once the season was over.

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"We started with just running in masks and then we went to groups of five, groups of 10, no contact and then contact, so I felt like we did our part, making sure that we're OK and that we are able to do what we can do, but, definitely even right now at the end of the fall when the season is supposed to be in the spring, it's a little concerning," Castro said.

Castro knows firsthand that it's easy for people his age to carry the virus without knowing it. That was the case with his sister, an Arizona State University student.

"She had no symptoms, but she had it and she's OK now," Castro said, adding, "College students, we need to realize that even though we're not feeling anything and we're not really the ones in danger, we could still spread it," Castro said.

Thomas said an additional 15 students had been placed in quarantine as of Monday, and contact tracing was ongoing.