BREAKING NEWS: UNCW reports 6 COVID-19 virus clusters on campus


Zachary Kilby

Pelican Hall and Sandpiper Hall are two of the four new housing options which opened fall 2020 at UNCW.

Veronica Wernicke, News Editor

This story was updated on Sept. 9 to reflect a sixth reported cluster on UNCW’s campus and updated positive case numbers among faculty/staff and students. 

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. Check back for updates.

On Aug. 27, UNC Wilmington (UNCW) issued a UNCWAlert informing students of two coronavirus (COVID-19) clusters on campus. This alert was issued via text, email and phone.

“Two, 5-person clusters of COVID-19 cases have been identified among UNCW residential students in Pelican Hall and Graham-Hewlett Hall,” the alert stated. 

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services defines a “cluster” as “5 or more cases with linkage between cases.”

Later on Aug. 30, UNCW sent out another UNCWAlert announcing a third cluster, this time in Sandpiper Hall.

UNCW has identified one cluster of five (5) COVID-19 cases in Sandpiper Hall,” the alert stated. 

Aug. 31 also saw the announcement of a fourth cluster on campus located in Cornerstone Hall.

UNCW has identified one cluster of seven (7) COVID-19 cases in Cornerstone Hall,” the statement read. 

Several days later on Sept. 3, UNCW informed students of another five-person cluster on campus, this time in Belk Hall.

On Sept. 9, a sixth cluster was announced. A five-person cluster was reported in Keystone Hall.

Of the 11 on-campus housing options at UNCW, six different buildings have reported clusters.

According to UNCW’s Emergency Information Website, the individuals involved are currently isolating and being monitored or treated for their symptoms. Due to privacy concerns the university does not publicly identify students or staff that have tested positive for COVID-19.   

The university has also informed the New Hanover County Health Department and begun contract tracing measures for those who have been in close contact. They define close contact as “someone who has been within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes.”

These alerts come several weeks after classes began at UNCW.

In total, since July, five faculty and staff and 250  students have tested positive.

Since Aug. 26, UNCW has seen an increase in the number of reported positive COVID-19 cases. According to UNCW’s COVID-19 data dashboard, 120 of the 147 positive student cases have been reported since Aug. 26.

More updated information regarding the number of students, faculty and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 can be found on UNCW’s data dashboard.