Saint Anselm College sees biggest ever one-day spike in COVID-19

Mark Hayward, The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester
·2 min read

Mar. 17—Saint Anselm College logged 14 cases of COVID-19 on Monday, its largest-ever one-day outbreak of the disease, according to the college website.

Another three cases were confirmed over the weekend, prompting college officials to urge students to monitor themselves and to quarantine and contact the college Health Service at any sign of a cold or allergy symptom.

All the on-campus isolation rooms are filled, and the college is now doubling up in the isolation rooms, according to Maura Marshall, the director of college health services, in a post on the college website.

"We have to dial this back," wrote Dean of Students Alicia Finn in a post on Wednesday. Twenty people tested positive in the first half of this week, a pace she called unsustainable.

She urged students to remain on campus on weekends, wear masks after 5 p.m., and participate in sanctioned events such as a St. Patrick's Day celebration Wednesday night and March Madness viewing.

Saint Anselm did not shut down this school year due to COVID-19 and offered students a mix of in-person, remote and hybrid classes, and a student population remains on campus. The college is under a Yellow Status. The third of five rankings, Yellow Status restricts gatherings to 10 or fewer people, prohibits outside guests and requires reservations for the dining hall.

Spokesman Paul Pronovost said the college moved to Yellow Status three weeks ago when COVID-19 infections started to rise.

According to Marshall's post, college officials have alerted state health officials about the outbreak. One student was hospitalized but has been discharged and is recovering.

Students should have a quarantine/isolation plan if they are notified of close contact with a COVID-19 patient. If they live in New England, they should isolate at home if possible.

Pronovost said the college has always anticipated that it would have some infections; the key is managing them.

He attributed the outbreak to COVID fatigue and the introduction of a highly contagious variant of COVID-19.