Sac State reaches record number of positive COVID-19 cases

22 positive cases connected to the university, 6 on campus last week


Patrick Posuniak

Students exit The WELL at Sacramento State on April 17, 2020. After temporarily closing due to COVID-19 in March 2020, the vision center, located in the WELL, was permanently closed December 2020.

Camryn Dadey

Potential and confirmed positive COVID-19 cases peaked at Sacramento State during the week of Nov. 9 to Nov. 15, with the number of positive cases connected to the university nearly doubling the last two weeks. 

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COVID-19 cases have also spiked in Sacramento, moving the county back into the most restrictive purple tier for monitoring and re-opening businesses on Nov. 13. As of Nov. 16, Sacramento County has had 30,999 confirmed positive cases and 527 deaths.

One of the positive cases on campus this semester was a resident of the dorms, according to Lisa Johnson, director of health services at Sac State. Johnson did not state whether the resident of the dorms is still a positive case.

“To date, there has been only one confirmed COVID-19 infection in the residence halls who has been placed in isolation,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the number of students in the dorms quarantining due to a possible exposure and the number of students in isolation due to a positive test is “fluid.” Students are released following a medical evaluation and “occasionally because of a negative COVID test,” Johnson said.

Residents of the dorms are not notified if another resident in their building tests positive for COVID-19 unless they have been exposed or made direct contact with the infected resident, Johnson said.

“Notification is provided to students, staff or faculty where [there is] a potential exposure based on CDC guidelines and after extensive contact interviews are conducted,” Johnson said.

Johnson said contact tracing is completed by interviewing the person who tested positive, following guidelines from the Sacramento County Health Department, the California Department of Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control. She also said the county follows up with any positive test results and conducts its own interview with the person.

Johnson said exposure includes sharing restrooms and common areas with a person who has been exposed to COVID-19 or someone who has symptoms without a known exposure. 

Johnson did not state how Sac State does contact tracing for common rooms such as bathrooms, hallways and common areas where people frequently come in close contact with others for brief periods of time.

Lorenzo Macciocchi, resident of the dorms, said he has not received any notifications of a person testing positive for COVID-19 in his building and thinks that a positive COVID-19 test in the dorms could end badly.

“Honestly it makes me feel as if they do not care for our health and safety as much,” Macciocchi said via text. “COVID [is] a big deal and there is a lot of people on campus that could contract it.”

He said that he feels an email notifying students of a positive case in their building “would be a little better than not knowing at all.”

“I don’t see a problem with the school sending an email to students saying like ‘there are students on campus who have tested positive for COVID so please stay in your dorms for at least 14 days,’” Macciocchi said.

Earlier this semester, 13 Sac State football players had to quarantine after a player on the team tested positive. 

Assistant Athletic Director Brian Berger said all players who quarantined are no longer in quarantine. He said some players were residents of the dorms, but did not specify how many.

Additional reporting by Madeleine Beck.