Coronavirus trends improving at NC university weeks after housing changes

North Carolina news

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Almost all of UNC-Wilmington’s students living on campus are now living alone.

Earlier this month, the university moved students sharing a room into alternative rooms on campus to slow the spread of COVID-19 after the New Hanover County health department expressed their concerns about the number of cases among young adults in the county.

Weeks after the announcement, 97% of students have either gone home or moved into their new single-person rooms.

“It’s been very chaotic. I actually just lost my roommate so I went home this past weekend after we moved her out because I didn’t want to be there without my roommate. It’s depressing,” said freshman student Kaitlynn Fletcher.

When the housing changes were announced, nearly half of the university’s quarantine beds were full. Weeks after those changes, only seven percent of those beds are in use. The county health department says changes like the drop in quarantine beds in use are a trend they want to see continue.

“It does show a couple things: number one it shows that tests are coming back negative and that there are some very progressive activities taking place on campus in that age group. I also think it shows the collaboration and partnership between the community in UNCW and getting tests done and ensuring the population is safe again,” said Philip Tarte of the New Hanover County Health Department.

A significant number of students have also left campus since the university opted to reduce capacity in their residence halls. The university says 667 students moved home and 383 students moved to single occupancy rooms on campus.

Tarte says the health department has put a lot of thought and time into making sure UNCW students are safe because what happens on campus does have an impact on the Cape Fear community as a whole.

“Clusters in any community would it be on campus or off campus there’s always gonna be a concern because Cove it is highly contagious these university students live work and play here just like anyone else they’re part of the community so for us it’s ensuring that that is not spread any more than any other citizen within the community,” said Tarte.

While the community isn’t out of the woods yet, the latest trends are encouraging for everyone.

The university has also been doubling down on mask wearing, holding meetings with students in their residence halls and giving written warnings to students violating the mask rules.

Most students just hope to remain on campus as long as possible and are celebrating every tiny victory that they can.

“Even if it’s a small win it’s still a win so that something we talk about a lot here is it’s all about the little ones maybe freshman year isn’t everything but we’re having a little wins and that’s what matters,” said student Danielle Cooper.

Copyright 2020 WECT. All rights reserved.

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