UNC identifies 3rd cluster of COVID-19 cases at Sigma Nu fraternity

Sunday, August 16, 2020
EMBED <>More Videos

The news comes a day after UNC reported two separate COVID-19 clusters in Ehringhaus Community and Granville Towers.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- UNC has identified a cluster of COVID-19 cases at the Sigma Nu fraternity house, an off-campus residence.

The school sent out an alert about the cluster at 109 Fraternity Court in Chapel Hill on Saturday afternoon. The news comes a day after UNC reported two separate COVID-19 clusters in Ehringhaus Community and Granville Towers.

SEE ALSO | UNC-Chapel Hill clarifies reopening guidelines amid COVID-19 pandemic, reducing on-campus occupancy

A "cluster" is defined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as five or more cases that are deemed close proximity in location, which can be defined as a single residential hall or dwelling.

People within the cluster have been identified and are isolating. UNC has notified the Orange County Health Department. Last month, Orange County Health Director Quintana Stewart recommended the university consider virtual classes for at least the first five weeks of the fall semester.

SEE ALSO | 'Not just about the students:' UNC housekeepers petition for more COVID-19 safety measures as students return to campus

Students at UNC are nervous about the COVID-19 clusters popping up on campus with some leaving Chapel Hill entirely. UNC junior Hallie Phillips moved out Saturday, taking her belongings to her parents' home in Raleigh. Phillips, a member of Phi Beta Phi, was initially anxious about the reports of the virus on campus. Friday's news about the clusters was the last straw.

"It was a lot to be around that many people and the level of anxiety I felt around that was nothing I've ever felt before," Phillips told ABC11's Morgan Norwood. "My mom actually sent me the article as a screenshot so the message she sent was like 'come home,' so that played a role."

Phillips said she always had anxiety about being on campus-but she tried her best-between cleaning, wearing her mask and social distancing.

Students were officially allowed to move in on Aug. 3. The fall semester started at UNC on Aug. 10. The school released a statement addressing the matter.

"The university has been preparing for five months to identify-trace and isolate potential positive cases both on and off campus for our students, faculty and staff-we are implementing those protocols"

The school announced back in July that 37 people within Tar Heels athletics--coaches, staff and student-athletes--tested positive for the virus.