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COVID-19 outbreak at a University of Arizona sorority house

At least six people living in the Alpha Phi house have tested positive.
COVID-19 outbreak at University of Arizona sorority house
Posted at 4:44 PM, Aug 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-30 19:44:37-04

A sorority house at The University of Arizona is under quarantine after six live-in members tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email sent out to the Alpha Phi Beta Epsilon chapter.

The email says, in compliance with the Pima County Health Department and The University of Arizona asking Alpha Phi to limit contact, members who don't live in the house will not be allowed inside until September 7.

It goes on to say, "The UA SAFER team is working with the Pima County Health Department and will be attempting to reach out to anyone testing positive and people whom they have had contact."

In the email, members are asked to answer calls from UA SAFER and Pima County Health Department regarding contact tracing. That request is followed by the statement, "They know it is an inconvenience and a lot to ask, but also trust you to act as leaders and examples for others on campus."

When asked about UA SAFER's involvement with tracking these cases, officials from The University of Arizona shared the following statement:

The University of Arizona assists students, including those living off campus, who have concerns about COVID-19 infections by offering antigen testing, which provides results within 2 hours. We also assist with mitigation efforts for students.

We want to remind the entire campus community of faculty, staff and students that they can sign up for antigen testing if asymptomatic and if they are symptomatic, they can call Campus Health. For more information, see covid19.arizona.edu.

We have two programs to assist with exposure notification:

  • Traditional Contact Tracing

We currently provide traditional contact tracing via telephone, coordinated by the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Students and staff who volunteer with the University of Arizona Contact Tracing Team [publichealth.arizona.edu] investigate new cases by calling up (tracing) close contacts of individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 in order to slow and stop the spread of the virus.

  • Mobile app exposure alert

The University will adopt Covid Watch [covid19.arizona.edu] to track possible COVID-19 exposures and provide notifications. Governor Ducey recently approved the pilot test of this mobile app for fast, private, totally anonymous exposure alert. No personally identifiable information is ever stored or disclosed. Instead, it uses secure Bluetooth signals to determine if and alert users when they may have been exposed to COVID-19. The app will be available soon for iPhone and Android devices.

When asked about the outbreak at the Alpha Phi house, campus officials told us, "As you know our sororities and fraternities are only affiliates of the University. All questions about their houses should be sent to them directly."

We have reached out to Alpha Phi Beta Epsilon and members of the sorority's executive board for comment. They have not responded.