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UW confirms 30 new coronavirus cases over weekend after thousands are tested
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UW confirms 30 new coronavirus cases over weekend after thousands are tested

UW Campus

Students leave William Robertson Coe Library on the University of Wyoming campus in Laramie on Oct. 2.

The University of Wyoming has 38 active cases of the novel coronavirus after the school identified 30 new staff and students with the disease over the weekend.

Two of the new cases are students who live in residence halls. University spokesman Chad Baldwin declined to say if the students were athletes or not, but he said it’s believed that they contracted the virus from within the community or from visitors. Eight people who were in contact with those students are in quarantine; Baldwin said it’s believed that those eight are the only ones who need to be quarantined related to the residence hall cases.

The university began last week its pre-return testing. According to a news release announcing the latest results, the school said its contractor had processed 8,260 samples.

In addition to the two residence hall students, the other positive cases are six students self-isolating outside of Laramie (some are in Casper, Sheridan, Riverton and in three other states); nine students in Laramie who live in off-campus housing “who’ve had no presence on campus;” six UW employees isolating at home; four who were “’past positives’ who have recovered;” and five individuals the school is still trying to contact.

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A total of 50 UW-tied cases have been identified since the pandemic first emerged in Wyoming. The 38 active cases are a mixture of those identified in recent weeks. Albany County, where UW is based, has had 90 confirmed cases and 13 probable cases.

The school last week announced that it would not reopen for in-person learning in August. Classes will begin online on Aug. 24, and in-person school will begin phasing in on Sept. 7. The school had previously released a plan to reopen campus immediately, guidelines that called for mandatory masking and frequent testing.

Baldwin said the school didn’t have enough tests available, nor did it have the capacity to process those tests, to safely reopen next week. He said the school wants to be able to test all students and employees twice a week.

The university has received millions from the state to jump-start its reopening. Baldwin said it’s possible that the university will request more money as it continues to work to reopen.

Also last week, the Cowboys football team learned that its season had been canceled along with the rest of the Mountain West due to concerns over the pandemic.

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Education and Health Reporter

Seth Klamann joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 and covers education and health. A 2015 graduate of the University of Missouri and proud Kansas City native, Seth worked for newspapers in Milwaukee and Omaha before coming to Casper.

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