As anticipated, additional testing and contact tracing at Defiance College has led to a discovery of more COVID cases. DC is committed to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and continues its diligence to contain the virus. On the evening of Wednesday, September 30, the Defiance College leadership team made a decision to implement a two-week remote learning and work period which began on Thursday, October 1. Campus offices will be open for normal business hours during this time but in a virtual format.
On September 25, the College discovered 37 positive cases on campus. The vast majority of these were isolated to athletics. Students with COVID-19 were placed in isolation (for 10 days) and those in close contact were placed in quarantine (for 14 days). DC re-tests students in quarantine every five days until no new positive cases are found. Because the outbreak was in athletics, all athletic activities have been suspended for two weeks.
Scheduled testing resumed on Wednesday, September 30, and 32 new cases were discovered. Most new positive cases were students already in quarantine who will now move to isolation. From the initial investigation, the student cases were attached to the initial group of positive test results. Total campus cases are now at 69, which is around 10% of the campus population.
With nearly 700 students, faculty, and staff, Defiance College is a community within the City of Defiance. Defiance College has employees from the city and from around the region. As such, it can have cases related to an outbreak AND cases that are connected to community spread. Cases among the staff are in the process of being traced to determine their origin.
"From the beginning of the pandemic, DC has followed the health guidelines from the Defiance County Health Department, State of Ohio, and federal government," says Defiance College president Dr. Richanne C. Mankey. "Unfortunately, one breach can have significant consequences. Through our contact tracing interviews, we have no reason to suspect that this outbreak on campus has expanded beyond the College.
"This is not where the College wanted to be, but because we use rapid testing we can see test results in hours. If needed, we have the ability to quarantine students sooner which helps limit the spread," states DC Vice President for Student Affairs Lisa Marsalek. "If we had to wait days for the COVID test results, campus could have a very different look. It is imperative that those in isolation or quarantine adhere to the guidelines to help keep the campus safe."
Defiance College REQUIRES everyone on campus to wear a mask when around other people, perform a daily health check and report results through DC's Campus Clear app, maintain physical distancing whenever possible, clean and sanitize their work and study spaces, wash/sanitize their hands often, and show respect to others. Layering these measures is the best defense.
In the name of preparedness, DC officials continue to closely monitor health risks and the best ways to minimize spread.