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Chancellor Glenn Boyce provides COVID-19 update

The University of Mississippi is a week and a half into its fall semester and on Tuesday, Chancellor Glenn Boyce provided an update on the campus’ efforts after seeing nearly 300 COVID-19 positive cases among the campus community.

Last Friday, Dr. Thomas Dobbs and Dr. Paul Byers with the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) met with Boyce and others regarding the MSDH’s guidance to the state’s universities regarding the isolation and quarantine process.

There has been confusion regarding the isolation and quarantine of students who test positive or have come in close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

On Aug. 21, the Friday before the fall semester was set to begin, the University was made aware of an outbreak in a university setting was defined by MSDH as three or more positive cases among a defined group, such as residents of a floor in a residence hall or members of a team.

During their meeting on Aug. 28, MSDH informed Boyce they would work to clarify their guidance to colleges and universities on how to quarantine people affected by outbreak.

As of Tuesday morning, there were a total of 58 people in quarantine and 22 more in isolation. The University had a total of 267 active cases with 257 of those among students. Nine more were among staff and one positive case among the faculty.

After reaching 299 active cases by the end of last week, the University saw a slow decline form that number the first part of this week.

“As a university, we are working diligently to provide the best living and learning environment possible within the limits posed by these challenging times,” Boyce said in an email to the campus community. “While we may have to do things differently in the short term, we must remain focused on our long-term goal of reducing the impact of the virus in our community while keeping our students on track toward earning their degrees. We are grateful for everyone who is doing their part to help us get there.”

Lafayette County saw record highs reported by the MSDH on Tuesday with 51 new cases as of 6 p.m. on Monday and 325 active cases as of Aug. 31. Tuesday’s number comes after Lafayette County saw new daily cases ranging throughout the forties last week.

Lafayette County has reported 1,470 total cases since March 19. There was another death reported on Tuesday in Lafayette County, bringing its total to 36 since March. Of those, 26 deaths have been reported in long-term care facilities throughout Lafayette County.