Belmont reports spike of 82 new COVID-19 cases, 69 being residential students
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Belmont reports spike of 82 new COVID-19 cases, 69 being residential students

Belmont reported 82 new COVID-19 cases on Monday as the university’s infection rate continues to trend in the wrong direction. 

University president Bob Fisher sent out an email early Monday evening warning students that Belmont would be “reporting the highest number of on-campus positive COVID-19 cases since we began reporting positive test results at the start of the fall term.”

The total number of positive cases consisted of 69 residential students, 11 non-residential students and two faculty and staff members. 

The university will not be transitioning to online cases in light of the recent case count, but Fisher did not rule out the possibility if the current trend continues.

The case numbers account for any students, faculty and staff who tested positive between March 1 and March 7. 

Fisher reaffirmed the university’s commitment to the COVID protocols already in place. 

 “Let me be clear — we are in no position to loosen our restrictions right now,” he wrote. 

This is the second week in a row in which the number of positive tests on campus rose above 60 cases. The university previously reported 63 positive cases for the week of Feb. 22-Feb. 28. 

In an email to faculty and staff, Fisher said an assessment by public health officials showed there is no cause for panic right now. He also encouraged faculty and staff to emphasize the campus’ coronavirus protocols. 

Nashville entered phase 1c of vaccinating residents on Monday and has seen a decline in new cases. Neighboring Williamson County let its mask mandate expire at the end of February, but the university will keep all its current protocols. 

Fisher is requiring the entire Belmont community to continue to follow mask and social distancing guidelines to avoid having to quarantine. 

“We also have limits to the availability of quarantine and isolation housing that are inherently required with an increase in cases,” he wrote.  

Luke Wood, a freshman music business major, recently recovered from COVID-19 after quarantining on campus from Feb. 25-March 6 in an isolation dorm

“I followed all the rules and I still got it,” he said. “And honestly, I don’t have the slightest clue.” 

“I certainly felt sick,” he said. “I just tried to close my eyes and listen to podcasts for three days.”

COVID-19 rules will stay in effect on campus and even though Wood recovered from the virus, he still intends on following the rules “no matter what.” 

The university will not be transitioning to online cases in light of the recent case count, but Fisher did not rule out the possibility if the current trend continues.

“Sending students home early to finish the semester remotely and canceling in-person commencement ceremonies are not outcomes anyone wants, but will become the only options available if we cannot reverse the current trend in our case count.”

This story written by Sarah Maninger.

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