University of the Nations confirms 26 COVID-19 cases

The University of the Nations Kona Sunday confirmed 26 cases of COVID-19 on its Kailua-Kona campus.

The school said four of these cases are travel-related and 22 are “due to the local Kona community spread.” The travel-related cases were tested and isolated immediately upon arrival.

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“Targeted contact tracing has shown UofNK staff contracted COVID-19 from the ongoing community spread in Kailua-Kona. Once aware of possible exposure, the University immediately isolated all related individuals, rapid and PCR tested, and suspended all in person activities except for essential services,” the school said.

Since September, the university said it has been operating at a “Safer-at-Home” level. At the request of Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim, the campus said it is now operating a “Stay-at-Home level, with all campus residents (staff and students) voluntarily self isolating.”

Only essential workers such as food service and security are being allowed on campus.

DOH has been advising the Campus Medical Team since August and will conduct an additional review of UofNK quarantine measures at the request of Kim. The review is slated to take place Monday through Wednesday.

“Although 80% of our campus body has already been tested, the Mayor has requested for all campus residents to be retested as a precautionary measure. We will immediately implement this next step and value the Mayor’s assistance and support,” the university said.

The university said it has been operating at below 40% capacity, below CDC guidelines for universities and colleges.

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“We believe this increased step of self isolation in addition to our temporary suspension of activities is prudent and appropriate. We know that the virus is an unseen threat and we wish to assure our Island Community that we are treating the current rise in cases with the highest level of attention,” the university said.

West Hawaii Today first reported late Thursday nine cases of COVID-19 at the campus with the school confirming five “locally contracted” cases among “long term residential staff” and four “travel related cases.”

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