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UNR reports 135 COVID-19 cases


The University of Nevada, Reno on Sept. 4 reported its highest COVID-19 new case count yet: 20 students, one faculty member and three staff members were reported to have contracted the coronavirus disease. 

Most of the individuals were last on campus in late August and early September, showing a delay in when cases are reported versus when the individual was last on campus.

“The University will only include confirmed cases through which other members of the University community may have been exposed to COVID-19,” UNR’s website said. UNR’s data “should not be considered a cumulative total of cases associated with the University. Rather, it is an attempt, over time, to compile the cases reported to the University – along with best information ascertained about when the individual last had contact with campus or at other University locations the University has been made aware of.”

When UNR reported on Sept. 4 the 24 new cases, Washoe County reported a total of 61 new cases or a seven-day average of about the same amount. 

UNR’s COVID-19 cases continue to climb as the semester progresses. One case was reported Monday, Aug. 24, 2020 and as of today, the institution reported 135 total cases since the start of the semester.

University of Nevada, Reno President Marc Johnson.

UNR President Marc Johnson on Sept. 3 cited “troubling reports of behavior off campus” where students were holding parties without safety precautions.

“These parties put not only the University Community at risk — they jeopardize the entire public health effort that Washoe County has been following since the outbreak of COVID-19 in mid-March,” he said. “Students and student organizations who are found responsible for a violation of the Student Code of Conduct are exposed to the full range of sanctions provided in the Code, including suspension, expulsion and loss of recognition for student organizations.”

While final numbers have not been reported, UNR is projected to have about 21,000 students with about 17,000 taking a full load of courses. The number of students reported for the fall 2019 semester was 21,003.

In late July, the university released a 66-page document outlining its plans for reopening—from class structure to the designation of “sick rooms” within dormitories for students who contract COVID-19.

According to information published on the university’s website on August 17, “The Office of Residential Life, Housing and Food Services at the University of Nevada, Reno has been working for months in preparation for housing students in one of the 12 on-campus residence halls amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In accordance with directives from federal and state government, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, residence halls will occupy no more than 50 students per floor at the start of the 2020 Fall semester.”

UNR plans to house about 2,400 students during the fall semester. These room assignments were made on a first-come, first-served basis. 

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