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COVID-19 outbreak at Keuka College

John Christensen
The Chronicle-Express

12 cases total, 10 students detected Thursday; 82 total cases for Yates County.

KEUKA PARK — Yates County Public Health reported late Thursday that 10 new cases of the Coronavirus have been detected on the campus of Keuka College. Deputy Director of Public Health Sara Christensen said, "We continue to investigate a cluster of cases at Keuka College with 10 new cases received today. Keuka College has 12 total cases to date. We are working closely with the Administration and the Health Center. We will provide an update tomorrow as we continue to our investigation and contact tracing efforts."

Keuka College's Director of Communications Kevin Frisch confirmed, "this brings the number of student cases to 11 and the overall number to 12 among the College population since on-campus operations resumed in August."

Frisch also stated that one college employee is among the cases, "but that person had been off-campus when diagnosed and was not on campus at the time of the infection, so no danger of transmission there."

More than 50 students who may have had contact with the affected students are currently quarantined on campus, stated Frisch.

Ten students have been diagnosed with COVID-19 at Keuka College, having attended an off-campus party.

To address the outbreak at the College:  

  • Classes are canceled for Friday, Oct. 9.  
  • Beginning Monday, Oct. 12, classes will transition to distance instruction for a period of two weeks. 
  • Adult and Online Education (AOE) classes will remain online for the duration of this semester as originally planned. They will meet on Friday if scheduled to do so. 
Yates County COVID-19 update chart.

Students are expected to remain on campus during the distance-learning period. There are no immediate changes for faculty and staff, who will continue to work from campus or remotely, depending on their responsibilities.

"The College has been in close contact with the county health department throughout the process and is following its recommendations and guidelines," stated Frisch. "It has also bolstered cleaning and disinfecting operations throughout the campus and has reiterated to students the importance of adhering to the College’s public-health policies and protocols."

College President Amy Storey said, “We will take every step necessary to ensure the health and safety of everyone in the College community while continuing to deliver the high-quality education our students deserve.” 

"At this point, the point of contact seems to be an off-campus social gathering," says Christensen.

The new cases bring Yates County's total number of COVID-19 positive cases to 82. There are 93 cases or traced contacts in quarantine, along with 33 in travelers' quarantine. One is currently hospitalized in Geneva. The number of deaths remains flat at seven, all from The Homestead nursing home earlier this year.