GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — The University of Wisconsin-Madison confirms that a group of spring breakers who visited Gulf Shores has tested positive for COVID-19.
Marc Levicott with University of Wisconsin-Madison Police tells WKRG News 5 that the students started their spring break in Nashville, Tennessee on March 13, then moved their trip down to Gulf Shores on March 16.
When they returned home, multiple students developed symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19.
Most of the students were members of fraternities and sororities. Now the university is asking all students who traveled for Spring Break to self-quarantine for 14 days.
The university sent this letter to fraternity and sorority members:
Dear Fraternity and Sorority members,
I am reaching out to all members of the UW-Madison Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) community with an urgent health announcement. Due to the importance of this message, we are sending it to the entire FSL community although we recognize the specific impacts may be different depending upon chapter affiliation.
University Health Services (UHS) and Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) recently became aware of a cluster of COVID-19 cases associated with a spring break trip organized by seniors, many of whom might be members of fraternities and sororities at UW-Madison. This trip started in Nashville, Tennessee around March 13 and moved to Gulf Shores, Alabama around March 16. Most students returned home by March 20. Multiple students on this trip have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 and many others are reporting similar symptoms. These symptoms include fatigue, cough, fever, nausea, and shortness of breath. Some people will experience other symptoms like sore throat, runny nose, nausea, or headache. The infections thus far have been mild, but we need to keep our campus community safe from further spread.
If you were on that trip, it is imperative that you observe a 14-day self-quarantine. For instructions on self-quarantine, please see the attached document for high-risk contacts.
You cannot report to work and need to take the utmost of precautions to manage contact with others you live with. You should also not travel to a different location but rather remain at your current location.
If you experience symptoms, you should follow the attached instructions for self-isolation. If your symptoms are becoming worse or you have questions, please contact your primary care provider or call UHS at 608-265-5600.
If you need to seek care in person, you must call in advance to let them know of your symptoms. You may be instructed to remain at home. Due to limited test availability, you are unlikely to be tested for COVID-19, but you should follow all the recommendations of your healthcare provider including isolation for at least seven days from symptom onset and for three days beyond all symptoms resolving.
For more information, including a health FAQ, visit covid19.wisc.edu/faqs.
G. Patrick Kelly, MD
Interim Medical Director, University Health Services
News 5’s Cherish Lombard talked to Gulf Shores city officials about whether the beaches should have been closed sooner. Watch the video below to hear their response.
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