TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The number of students and staff at FSU who have tested positive for COVID-19 has risen by more than 700 just one week after school started on Aug. 24.
According to the university's COVID-19 dashboard, 839 students and 14 employees have tested positive for COVID-19. They say the numbers reflect data collected from Aug. 2 through Sept. 4.
Along with the cases sharply spiking, the positive rate rose to 7.32%, up from 1.57% the week before. A total of 11,653 tests have been conducted at FSU since Aug. 2, up nearly 3,500 from 8,224 the week prior.
Prior to Tuesday's update, Sunday's data showed only 123 students and six employees had tested positive for the virus.
The spike comes after FSU announced that they would be randomly testing asymptomatic students and staff. The random testing will begin Monday, Sept. 14 and will continue throughout the Fall 2020 semester.
FSU sent the following statement to ABC 27 regarding the cases:
"Florida State University administrators are aware of the increase of positive cases in the campus and local communities and continue to work closely with public health officials to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while providing university programs and services to support our students, faculty and staff. Florida State does not plan a shift to remote instruction at this time. If a decision is made to transition to all remote instruction in the future, the university will notify the community.
The university is also aware of current reports and social media posts, which include photos and videos, of large social gatherings occurring off campus. Administrators are disappointed to see the public health guidance provided on multiple occasions has been disregarded by many. The health and safety of everyone and the success of our fall semester depends on both personal and community responsibility. FSU is again requesting local establishments and apartment complexes step in with appropriate restrictions where off-campus students are congregating.
The current increase in cases was not unexpected as it correlates to the marked increase in voluntary testing of the campus community during the first two weeks of the fall semester. Accordingly, as a result of this increase in positive cases, Florida State has implemented additional mitigation measures, such as reducing both the number and size of student events, restricting access to Greek houses to residents only and prohibiting tailgating at Doak Campbell Stadium before and after Saturday’s home game versus Georgia Tech.
While the unsafe behavior and rise in positive cases are deeply concerning, Florida State has seen no significant challenges related to on-campus housing at this time. FSU has capacity to continue to isolate on-campus residential students who are positive in designated isolation housing located on and off campus.
Many universities nationwide have seen similar increases in positive cases coinciding with the start of fall classes, and FSU has remained vigilant to avoid a significant outbreak on campus. The majority of fall courses are being delivered remotely. The number of face-to-face courses and campus gatherings and events have been limited. Social distancing and mandatory face coverings have been implemented throughout campus.
Random surveillance testing of the campus population will begin Sept. 14 to further assist with the detection of possible spread of COVID-19 among the campus community."
Since Aug. 30, data from the Florida Department of Health shows that the daily median age for COVID-19 cases in Leon County has dropped into the 20s.
While those between the ages of 15 and 24 make up more than 40 percent of the county's cases, only 6 percent of those cases have resulted in hospitalizations.
This is a developing story. Stay with us for updates.