Student weekly case count hits record high as 9 athletes test positive

Oct. 19, 2020, 10:20 p.m.

Stanford reported nine new COVID-19 cases among students — all athletes — in the week of Oct. 12, a sharp increase from the previous week’s zero new cases.

The uptick comes just days after the University reiterated plans to bring frosh and sophomore undergraduates to campus for the winter quarter and acknowledged receiving around 140 reports of public health violations of the Campus Compact.

The nine new cases are among student-athletes across three teams, according to Stanford’s COVID-19 dashboard. Eight of the students live off campus, according to Athletics spokesperson Brian Risso, but students-athletes who tested positive are isolating on campus.

“Stanford Athletics paused team activities on Oct. 17 for members of its men’s soccer and women’s soccer programs,” Risso wrote in an email to The Daily. “The contract tracing process has been completed and all student-athletes who tested positive have been moved to on-campus isolation housing.”

Two households accounted for seven of the nine cases, according to Risso. Risso declined to comment on the total number of households and students currently in quarantine as a result of new infections.

The infections come amid loosening COVID-19 restrictions surrounding student activity on campus. Stanford recently announced that students could form pods (or “households”) with up to seven other students. The University previously wrote that pods would be required to register to “facilitate contact tracing.”

Student-athletes who test positive for COVID-19 are “removed from activities and required to isolate immediately,” Risso wrote in an earlier statement to The Daily.

According to Risso, athletes have accounted for 26 positive tests total — 62% of total cases among students. Half of athlete cases were football players, all of whom have been cleared to return to play after recovering. Student-athletes are tested more frequently — some teams are tested daily — than other students, in accordance with Santa Clara County rules.

Only three, one and zero new cases had been reported among students in the weeks of Sept. 21, Sept. 28, and Oct. 5 respectively in the weeks leading up to the week of Oct. 12.

Risso and a University spokesperson declined to comment on the infected students’ condition.

Cases among faculty, staff, and postdocs remained at zero new cases for the third week in a row, according to Stanford’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Jeremy Rubin and Jodie Meng contributed reporting.

Contact Sam Catania at samcat ‘at’

Sam Catania ’24 is the Volume 262 Editor in Chief of The Daily. Previously, he was Chief Technology Officer, the producer of the weekly video roundup, a news beat reporter covering COVID-19 on Stanford's campus and the assessment team leader of The Daily's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) team. Sam hails from Philadelphia and is studying Symbolic Systems. You can follow him on Twitter @sbcatania. Contact him at scatania 'at'

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