Monmouth University COVID-19 outbreak mostly from ‘super-spreader’ event

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New Jersey’s Monmouth University was forced to cancel in-person classes after an outbreak of 319 confirmed coronavirus cases — mostly from an off-campus “super-spreader” event, the school’s president said.

“It appears that this increase in cases among students was tied to an off-campus event hosted two weeks ago,” president Patrick Leahy told students in an update to the two-week shutdown that included athletic events.

“An overwhelming majority of the recent cases we have seen can be traced back to this isolated super-spreader event,” he said.

He did not detail the event, although students told NBC4 that there have been an “abundance” of parties at the West Long Branch university.

An online tracker shows the university has had 319 confirmed cases as of its last update on Monday — a huge leap from the 10 confirmed cases of three weeks earlier. Of those, 96 are still deemed “active” cases where the infected students and staff are in enforced 10-day isolation.

“Moving forward, we will need 100% cooperation from our campus community in order to resume our fall semester as planned,” Leahy wrote.

“I cannot emphasize enough the critical importance of compliance . . .  The future of our fall semester will rest, in large part, on the ability of everyone to follow these necessary protocols,” he said.

The school is now offering free testing to all staff and students as well as enhanced contact tracing efforts, he said. Officials will later this week evaluate when to reopen.

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