A large party is suspected as the origin for a coronavirus outbreak at New York's SUNY Oneonta, which has led to a halt on in-person classes for at least two weeks.
Dozens of students have been suspended for violating the code of conduct, chancellor Jim Malatras told CNN's John King.
“Socializing is great, but we have to do this differently. We have to control this virus. And I’m going to keep reinforcing that but also enforcing discipline because we can't have this get out of control across the state,” he said.
“We noticed that there was a large party early last week. It resulted in several Covid cases. Twenty Covid cases became 105 cases. We stepped in immediately,” Malatras said, adding that SUNY’s upstate medical facility is doing 75,000 tests a week through the SUNY system.
The outbreak shows that the pandemic is not over yet, Malatras added.
“Covid still exists. We can't rest on our laurels to say we're out of the woods. This, I hope, serves as a wake-up call that one party can lead to more than a hundred cases,” he said.
It’s day one on the job for Malatras, who previously worked on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s panel of advisers to combat the coronavirus crisis. Cuomo will send in a team of 70 contact tracers and eight case investigators in an attempt to contain the outbreak.
To reinforce the messaging and discipline on campus, Malatras said he will focus on how everyone plays a role in this pandemic.
“Individual responsibility for the greater collective good. One individual's action can impact everyone on our college community,” he said. “We have to instill in people that it's not just your actions. Your actions have consequences on everyone else. It could impact our faculty and get them sick. It can impact the student body population so we're going to keep reinforcing that message.”