University announces two new COVID-19 clusters related to sororities, brings amount of clusters reported to five


Emily Broyles, Reporter

Two active COVID-19 clusters associated with sororities were identified by App State, according to an email sent to students Friday. 

A cluster is defined as a minimum of five cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period and plausible epidemiologic linkage between cases, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Nine students associated with Kappa Delta sorority have tested positive in the past 14 days. Four out of the five cases “are recovering in active isolation,” while the other five have completed the isolation period, according to the email.

Ten students associated with Chi Omega sorority have also tested positive within the past two weeks. Three of the 10 are actively recovering in isolation and seven are no longer isolated.

This is the fourth and fifth cluster identified by App State and first cases related to Greek life. A cluster in Thunder Hill Residence Hall was announced yesterday. 

Chancellor Sheri Everts sent an email to students Friday after the cluster announcement, and said the university has seen “an increase in active cases this week, following an increase in testing events after the Labor Day holiday weekend.”

“We announced three clusters this week, which, combined, have nine active cases. Still, we are using less than 10% of our currently available quarantine space,” Everts said. 

The clusters were “identified and confirmed” by App State and AppHealthCare within 14 days based on the number of cases and links to sororities.

Public health staff notified all potential close contacts of those who have tested positive. A close contact is someone who has been within six feet of an infected individual for more than  15 minutes. 

AppHealthCare is monitoring the active cases and will continue conducting response testing with App State, the email stated. 

The email also noted that sometimes “the definition of a cluster is not met until after a number of the cases in the clusters are no longer active.” This can be because of :

  • The number of cases identified in a two-week period
  • Contact tracing to determine potential linkage 
  • COVID-19 test results 

The email stated how responding to calls from public health officials trying to contact trace is “extremely important for a rapid response” from AppHealthCare and the university. 

App State will provide a free pop-up testing event Saturday, Sept. 19 in Rivers Street Parking Deck from noon-5 p.m. Students, faculty and staff should bring their AppCard to be tested for COVID-19.