USC reports 45 COVID-19 cases linked to fraternities

L.A. County officials are investigating an outbreak of 45 coronavirus cases clustered around houses on 28th Street, the location of many USC fraternity houses.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The University of Southern California is now battling a major coronavirus outbreak linked to fraternities.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health says at least 45 students connected to three fraternities have tested positive for COVID-19. There have not been any hospitalizations reported so far. The cases are clustered around houses on 28th Street, the location of many fraternity houses.

To date, 150 USC students and employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Sarah Van Orman, chief health officer of USC Student Health, says the outbreak was identified in early July and that the number of cases seen in the last week has "dropped dramatically."

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is investigating the outbreak. They say the outbreak may be linked to a social gathering or party on July 4. The county noted that large gatherings of people from different households are prohibited under the county health officer's current orders.

"These are high-risk situations where COVID-19 can spread quickly to many people," a county statement said. "Those people, even if they are asymptomatic, can then spread it to their household, which may include someone who becomes seriously ill or who may die."

Van Orman did not pinpoint the outbreak to a specific party, and said the outbreak was caused by "casual contact over a period of time."

"And because people live in close proximity, they sort of spread it to each other," Van Orman said. "It was not large fraternity parties, they were small gatherings, but unfortunately, it was enough to allow it to spread to these communities."
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