75 active COVID-19 cases, 270 in isolation at University of Tennessee ahead of semester start

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The University of Tennessee-Knoxville reported Monday there are 75 active COVID-19 cases on campus and 270 are in self-isolation.

According to the latest data listed on the university’s coronavirus information page, 66 students and nine employees have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 270 people in self-isolation as of Monday.

During an update Tuesday, Chancellor Donde Plowman said the university traced a cluster of active cases to an off-campus party on Laurel Avenue that took place last Tuesday. The university defines a cluster as at least five connected cases or 20 people in self-isolation from one event.

Plowman made it very clear that there will be consequences for students that do not comply with COVID-19 guidelines.

“The harshest punishment I can think about for someone who willfully does not cooperate with contact tracing or filling out the self-isolation form. This is what is going to preserve our community’s ability to manage through this. If students do not cooperate, you could be expelled, so just listen to that very carefully. If students do not cooperate with contact tracers or with filling out the self-isolation form we will pursue if we need to student conduct and ultimately expelling a student from campus,” Plowman said.

“We can only make decisions based on the information that’s provided to us and, so, the goal of contact tracing is not to be punitive. It’s to provide protection to the community as a whole and that’s why that information has to be quickly forthcoming and honest,” said Dr. Spencer Gregg, Director of the Student Health Center, “When you fail to participate, you’re failing to help others in need and that’s certainly not consistent with the volunteer spirit.”

Plowman said 24 of 240 total isolation beds are currently in use.

See the full update from Chancellor Plowman here:

On August 12, there were 28 active COVID-19 cases the university with 150 people in self-isolation.

On Monday, Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt said 23 football players had tested positive for COVID-19 since returning to campus in June for workouts. Pruitt said the majority of cases came after players left campus during an 8-day period around the Fourth of July holiday. He said the team’s positivity rate is under 2%.

Fall semester classes are set to start on Wednesday, August 19.

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