Fall semester courses at Oklahoma State University started Monday with the whole Pi Beta Phi sorority underneath quarantine after 23 members examined positive for the coronavirus.

Only one Pi Beta Phi member was exhibiting signs and none of her sorority sisters had been being allowed to go away the off-campus home, officers mentioned.

“At this point, no members have been hospitalized and any who are ill are experiencing minor effects of the virus,” Pi Beta Phi strategic initiatives director Shawn Eagleburger mentioned in a press release.

The sorority sisters who moved into the Pi Beta Phi home between Aug. 2 and Aug. 6 all examined destructive for COVID-19, Eagleburger mentioned.

But as Pi Beta Phi launched into a digital recruitment drive to draw new pledges, a number of the sorority sisters let their guard down.

“Eager to reconnect with friends, on August 11, a small group of members who reside outside of the facility joined the chapter for a short, informal gathering at the facility,” Eagleburger wrote. “On August 12, the Chapter President was informed one of these members was experiencing symptoms of COVID-19; the member later confirmed she had tested positive. On August 14, members who since began experiencing symptoms were tested; many tested positive.”

University spokeswoman Monica Roberts mentioned the campus was bracing for this risk of mass infections.

“This was expected,” Roberts advised The Daily Oklahoman on Saturday. “When you bring back 20,000 students, there will invariably be more cases related to campus. We’ve prepared for this for five months and have protocols in place to manage the situation. Our priority is the safety and well-being of our campus community and transparency in communications.”

The lockdown at Pi Beta Phi got here as Oklahoma has seen a surge in new COVID-19 infections, averaging near 800 new instances per day within the final 4 weeks, based on an NBC News evaluation of obtainable figures.

Among these contaminated final month was Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican and ally of President Donald Trump who was criticized for his cavalier approach within the early days of the unfolding disaster. So far, Oklahoma has reported 48,342 instances and 661 COVID-19 deaths for the reason that begin of the pandemic.

Nationally, the variety of confirmed COVID-19 instances was nearing 5.5 million and the dying toll as of Monday morning was over 171,000, based on the NBC News numbers. The U.S., which leads the world in each classes, has accounted for roughly 1 / 4 of the 22.5 million cases and 776,000 deaths throughout the globe.

“It’s going away,” Trump advised reporters for the umpteenth time at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. “But, we’re also going to have vaccines very soon.”

Trump, who has downplayed the dangers of the pandemic and beforehand predicted a vaccine could be accessible by Election Day, as soon as once more supplied no new proof to again up both assertion.

Most of the brand new instances and deaths within the U.S. have been in Southern and Sun Belt states that reopened on the urging of the Trump Administration because the numbers of latest COVID-19 instances had been beginning to climb.

Florida has been hit particularly onerous in current months. For the 76th day in a row, the state well being division Monday reported greater than 1,000 new instances. And the Sunshine State was on monitor to quickly be a part of California as the one states with greater than 600,000 confirmed instances, NBC News figures showed.

As of Monday afternoon, Florida had additionally reported 9,586 deaths.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living mentioned in an updated report Monday that there was a “major spike in new COVID cases” that has now surpassed the earlier peak stage on May 31 and that 78 % of them are in Sun Belt states.

While nursing residence deaths from the coronavirus had been declining, they’re on the rise once more and 69 % of deaths in late July occurred in Sun Belt states, the report concluded.

Other nationwide coronavirus updates:

  • Oklahoma State is just not the one main college the place the choice to reopen the varsity is being second-guessed. At the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, which reopened final week and the place not less than 4 clusters of COVID-19 infections have been reported, the scholar newspaper expressed its dismay with the varsity’s management by printing an editorial which had the phrase “cluster—-” within the headline. “We all saw this coming,” The Daily Tar Heel editorial board wrote. “University leadership should have expected students, many of whom are now living on their own for the first time, to be reckless. Reports of parties throughout the weekend come as no surprise.” While the scholars bear a number of the blame, it was as much as UNC-Chapel Hill to “disincentivize such gatherings by reconsidering its plans to operate in-person earlier on.” Buckling underneath the strain, UNC-Chapel Hill announced later Monday it was changing to all digital courses.
  • Coronavirus instances are already being reported within the Ok-12 colleges which have reopened, however the federal authorities is just not monitoring these outbreaks and a few states are usually not publicly reporting them, NBC News reported Monday. This makes it more durable for researchers to find out what may be performed to forestall instances in colleges from spreading. “Without good data that tracks cases over time — and shows how one case turns into many cases — there’s just no way to answer that question,” mentioned Emily Oster, an economist at Brown University and co-founder of COVID Explained.
  • The tensions between dad and mom wanting to get their children again in school and academics who concern getting contaminated was on display in Arizona the place a faculty district exterior Phoenix was compelled to cancel courses Monday after greater than a 100 academics staged a sickout. “We have received an overwhelming response from staff indicating that they do not feel safe returning to classrooms with students,” Gregory Wyman, superintendent of the J.O. Combs Unified School District, mentioned in a letter to folks on Friday. Wyman mentioned he didn’t know when “in-person instruction” would resume and that virtual-learning was canceled as effectively. The academics’ motion was in a defiance of a 3-2 vote by the district’s governing board to reopen the lecture rooms. Teachers union president Joe Thomas mentioned the district didn’t consider benchmarks the Arizona Department of Health Services urged colleges depend on to find out once they would reopen.

  • Actress Sharon Stone revealed over the weekend that her youthful sister Kelly Stone was within the hospital battling COVID-19 and blamed people who refused to wear masks for her an infection. “My sister Kelly, who already has lupus, now has COVID-19,” the “Basic Instinct” star wrote in an Instagram submit. “This is her hospital room. One of you Non-Mask wearers did this. She does not have an immune system.”

  • The twin shafts of sunshine that symbolize the fallen Twin Towers and commemorate the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror assaults might be lit after all. The 9/11 Memorial, which had canceled the annual occasion due to COVID-19 issues, reversed course over the weekend after public outcry. “In the last 24 hours we’ve had conversations with many interested parties and believe we will be able to stage the tribute in a safe and appropriate fashion,” 9/11 Memorial and Museum President and CEO Alice M. Greenwald mentioned. The “Tribute in Light” will ship the beams upward into the evening sky from nightfall on Sept. 11 to daybreak on Sept. 12 in decrease Manhattan. Once the most popular of sizzling spots within the nation, New York has been capable of flatten its coronavirus curve. Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported Monday that of the 56,891 assessments reported Sunday simply 408, or lower than one %, had been positive. There had been additionally six extra deaths.

Joe Murphy contributed.

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