In the biggest outbreak of COVID-19 since the start of the school year, more than 50 cases of the virus has been reported at the University of Chicago in the past 48 hours. CBS 2's Tara Molina reports.
BRAD EDWARDS: Good afternoon. I'm Brett Edward.
IRIKA SARGENT: And I'm Irika Sargent. Right now, University of Chicago students are under a stay at home order because of a COVID-19 outbreak on campus.
BRAD EDWARDS: That's right. Our Tara Molina there. A likelihood that the cases involve the highly contagious UK variant. Tara, this is the biggest cluster the school has seen so far.
TARA MOLINA: Brad and Irika, since the beginning of the school year, with more than 50 cases reported in the past few days and more expected, people with the university tell me many of them are connected to parties hosted off campus just in the past week.
- It's difficult to put into words our disappointment about the situation.
TARA MOLINA: The University of Chicago's student government speaking out in a video posted to social media today.
- Even as we receive news of the campus shutdown, students are continuing to party off campus, in dorms, and even in quarantine housing.
TARA MOLINA: They're calling for the students behind those fraternity and off campus parties-- parties that contributed to this spike in cases according to the university-- to be held accountable for the outbreak's impact.
- We condemn the students who attended those parties knowing full well the risks and dangers of doing so.
TARA MOLINA: They're the only voices we heard from on campus today. The U of C communications team denied our interview requests and sent a statement instead. Here's what we know. All students living in residence halls are under a stay at home order until April 15 with all classes now happening remotely, all in-person events canceled, and more positive cases expected. According to a memo sent to the university community, there are concerns the outbreak here involves the highly contagious UK coronavirus variant that's, quote, "able to cause more severe disease in people of all ages." The memo urges anyone on campus who's attended a party or gathering to get tested immediately with contact tracing happening now.
I have not heard back from the city's health department on their recommendations here. But according to the state, anyone who lives around the university's campus should be really careful right now. Keep your distance, wear a mask, and, of course, avoid crowds. Reporting live on University of Chicago's campus, I'm Tara Molina, CBS 2 News.