'More than 200' COVID-19 cases prompts 2-week quarantine at Winona State

The university is imposing a campus quarantine until Sept. 22.

More than 200 cases of COVID-19 are connected to Winona State University, which has prompted the southeastern Minnesota college to implement a 14-day campus quarantine. 

The campus-wide quarantine began Tuesday and runs through Sept. 22. All non-essential activities on campus have been limited during the quarantine in an effort to slow the spread of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. 

Kris Ehresmann, infectious diseases expert with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), said Tuesday that more than 200 cases have been linked to the university, though school officials say they're not aware of anyone with serious symptoms. 

“The university is not currently aware of any serious illness related to COVID-19 within the WSU community,” WSU President Scott R. Olson said in a statement. “However, we are seeing an increase in asymptomatic transmission, and we have a responsibility to our students, our employees, and to our community to respond accordingly. We recognize that the recent increase in cases is not only impacting our campus, but the entire Winona community.”

When possible, courses will be completed remotely. Courses that require in-person instruction will see increased safety measures put in place. 

“We are hopeful that these actions will flatten the growth in numbers,” said Olson. “We will continue to monitor this evolving situation and take appropriate actions as needed.”

The university's website, as of Aug. 30, lists 148 students/staff in isolation, in addition to 122 who are quarantining due to possible exposure to the virus. 

Ehresmann noted that Minnesota State-Moorhead is also seeing rising COVID-19 numbers, while cases at Minnesota State-Mankato have been declining.

Last week, a large gathering of people outside a popular college bar in St. Paul prompted the University of St. Thomas officials to contact the bar and express concerns. 

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