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U.Va. identifies 16 cases of COVID-19 in Hancock residence hall, will retest Hancock and Balz-Dobie

Residents of Hancock and Balz-Dobie dorms will be tested again Sept. 30

Residents of Balz-Dobie will also receive follow-up testing this week, following the identification of fifteen positive cases in the building last week.
Residents of Balz-Dobie will also receive follow-up testing this week, following the identification of fifteen positive cases in the building last week.

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Residents of the Hancock residence hall were notified Friday afternoon that the University has identified 16 cases of COVID-19 in the building, per an email from Provost Liz Magill and Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis. According to a separate statement from the University, the cases were identified through a combination of wastewater testing, prevalence testing and testing at Student Health.

According to Friday’s email to residents, prevalence testing identified seven of the 16 cases, and 12 students were identified as roommates. 115 students live in the building, meaning 14 percent of residents tested positive. 

According to the University’s COVID Tracker, 38 students tested positive on Thursday, a new high for the week.

Residents of Hancock will partake in additional follow-up testing by the University on Sept. 30 in the Student Activities Building. Residents of Balz-Dobie will also receive follow-up testing this week, following the identification of fifteen positive cases in the building last week.

“It is not unusual to do repeat testing when prevalence testing reveals a number of positive cases,” Magill and Davis wrote in the email. “The average incubation period for the virus can range up to five or six days, so follow-up testing allows us to find cases, if any, that the original tests might have missed because of timing.”

At the moment, residents who are not close exposures or roommates of those who have tested positive have not been quarantined, though they have been asked not to visit others’ rooms in Hancock until they receive the results from their Sept. 30 tests, which the University estimates will be available by Oct. 2.

“The Virginia Department of Health has recommended that you should not visit others’ rooms in Hancock,” Magill and Davis said. “This is in addition to our existing rule that you should not visit other residence halls; only current residents are allowed inside each building. Instead, you should meet in groups of five or fewer outside, at a safe distance, wearing masks.”

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