UofN Kona confirms second campus outbreak

  • The University of the Nations campus off Kuakini Highway. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

A recent cluster of COVID-19 positive cases has been reported by officials at University of the Nations in Kailua-Kona.

Johnny Gillespie, UofN Kona spokesperson, told West Hawaii Today on Friday the campus recently had 20 positive test results.

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“We do have 64 in precautionary quarantine as a result of contact tracing,” said Gillespie.

The school discovered the cases as part of routine screening performed on students and staff who are ready to travel out of the country. Those members are required to have negative test results before leaving.

All of the positive cases were asymptomatic, he noted.

Gillespie said the majority of staff at UofN Kona have been vaccinated.

Concerns raised by members of the community of vaccinated individuals testing positive were addressed by Gillespie.

“I can confirm that only our staff were invited to participate in the vaccination program. None of the vaccinated staff are COVID-positive,” he said.

UofN Kona has returned to having on-line classrooms and staff meetings, and as a temporary precautionary measure they have closed their campus to the public.

Gillespie said the school is working closely with the Department of Health.

“We have been in close communication with the DOH 100% since discovering the first case,” he said.

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The cluster of positive cases is the second time an outbreak of COVID-19 has been associated with the faith-based university campus located off Kuakini Highway.

In October, an outbreak prompted campus-wide testing of more than 950 staffers and students. Some 52 people ultimately tested positive for the novel coronavirus. None required hospitalization.

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