Graphic by Jenna Simon/B&W Staff

BREAKING: ‘Sharp rise’ in COVID-19 cases leads to new restrictions; case count up to 147

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Lehigh announced in an email to the campus community that there are 147 positive COVID-19 cases among students in Bethlehem. 

That’s an increase from 100 cases reported yesterday and 65 reported on Monday. The positivity rate from “results returned so far” from the surveillance testing of 1,500 students administered Tuesday was three percent.

The university announced a series of changes to the school’s on and off-campus regulations beginning Oct. 9 and continuing through Oct. 23 as a result of the “sharp rise” in cases.

Among the new changes, all undergraduate classes will be held remotely until Oct. 23. 

Students living on-campus are advised not to leave campus unless it is to return home for an emergency or health-related reason. While students are allowed to take a COVID-19 test off-campus or pick up prescriptions from a pharmacy, the email encouraged students to remain on campus — especially if they are quarantining or isolating.

Students living off-campus are no longer permitted to access any facilities or outdoor spaces on campus, besides the Health and Wellness Center, with the exception of students with meal plans, who may pick up takeout meals.

The email also said there will be further testing required next week for students, faculty and staff, and those who are required to be tested will be notified via email in the coming days. The university announced previously that fully remote students would be included in the school’s surveillance testing.

Lehigh announced additional isolation space has been identified for positive on-campus cases. The university’s COVID-19 dashboard will now be updated daily with new case information.

The five-person limit for gatherings that took effect on Oct. 3 will remain in effect until Oct. 23.

All libraries and gyms will remain closed, and athletic practices and trainings remain suspended.

The email said there have been recent reports of behavior violating Lehigh’s social contract, including off-campus gatherings of more than five people and disregard for wearing masks on-campus. Potential violations of COVID-19 guidelines are being “strictly enforced” through an expedited conduct review process.

Earlier this week, “several students” were issued notices of interim suspension. Such students who live on-campus and received an interim suspension notice are required to leave their campus housing “immediately” before undergoing a conduct review process.

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