A coronavirus outbreak has ripped across the University of Southern California’s fraternity row, school officials said Thursday.
At least 40 people living on a street where several of the school’s frats are based have tested positive for COVID-19, chief student health officer Sarah Van Orman told The Los Angeles Times.
“A significant number of the cases were associated with four fraternity houses,” Van Orman said.
To date, around 150 USC students and employees have been infected with the virus.
University officials said the actions of community members off-campus are crucial in curbing the spread of the outbreak.
“Unless all of us understand that right now our only tools are physical distancing and wearing masks, we’re going to continue to have devastation, not only in terms of the economy, our learning, our academics, our jobs, but people dying,” Van Orman said.
“Each of us have to decide what we stand for. Frats need to do that as well.”
Although the outbreak affected frat houses, it wasn’t clear whether those infected included fraternity members, who often lease out rooms during the summer, Van Orman said.
The outbreak among USC frats is mostly over, she added, crediting continued testing and aggressive contact tracing, as well as mandatory quarantining ordered by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The school first reported 15 positive cases on fraternity row in a July 9 press release.
“We haven’t seen any more cases for the last week or so,” Van Orman said.