CDC coronavirus

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

UF announced seven new cases of COVID-19 in the university community, including six students and a faculty member.

The university quietly announced this on its COVID-19 FAQ website Sunday — the same site where it added information about COVID-19 cases when  Gov. Ron DeSantis announced UF had four positive cases last week. This brings the current number of UF cases to 11 as of Sunday night. 

These new cases include two graduate students from the College of Business, a law student, an employee from the College of Veterinary Medicine, a student from the College of Health and Human Performance, a student in the College of Journalism and Communications and a student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

None of the students who were announced as positives for COVID-19 lived on campus, according to the website.

The Alligator has reached out daily to UF Spokesperson Steve Orlando since Thursday and has received responses saying there are no known additional cases.

The Alligator received no response Saturday. Orlando responded Sunday with a link to the website with Sunday’s new cases.

Orlando wrote that UF first learned late Friday of one of the seven cases announced Sunday and university officials learned of the most recent case Sunday morning.

Despite the website’s promise to post new cases “once a day, before noon, including Saturdays and Sundays,” this announcement was not published by noon Saturday, or at all, although UF knew of at least one new case. 

Orlando texted The Alligator Sunday afternoon saying it had taken UF some time to announce these cases because university staff wanted to create a logical and comprehensive way to provide the information. They decided on the new website, which took time to set up, and was launched Sunday.

No university-wide email about these new cases was sent over the weekend. When DeSantis made his statewide announcement, UF President Kent Fuchs confirmed four UF students had COVID-19 in a university-wide email Tuesday.

The last university-wide email was sent Friday at 6:19 p.m. announcing all campus gyms and fitness centers, including UF’s Southwest Recreation Center, would be closed due to an executive order from DeSantis. The university also tweeted about the new website and its promises, but did not mention the new seven cases in its tweet.

The four students who were confirmed on Tuesday included a student from the College of Arts, a student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and two professional students from the College of Dentistry. All of these students live off-campus. 

Two of these students returned to Gainesville from domestic travel and were tested and quarantined, according to a web archive of UF’s COVID-19 website. One student returned to Gainesville from international travel and was tested and quarantined. One student was in close contact with an infected student. None of the students were hospitalized as of Tuesday.

Contact Stephany Matat at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @StephanyMatat.