UMass Dartmouth sees surge in Covid cases

Oct 19, 2020

UMass Dartmouth saw a surge in Covid-19 cases last week as total case numbers jumped 64% with 16 new cases Oct. 13-16, up from zero new cases the previous week, data released by the university shows.

The university has seen 41 coronavirus cases so far this academic year. The number of positive cases doubled in one day, from four on Oct. 15 to eight on Oct. 16.

It is unclear how many of the students or community members who tested positive live on campus or in the wider Dartmouth or South Coast community. A spokesperson has previously declined to comment, citing medical privacy regulations.

The increase comes as the virus is surging across the country and even around the globe, with the US hitting over eight million cases and 220,000 deaths from the illness on Oct. 19.

Last month the university saw a minor outbreak among students who had hired rink time to practice ice hockey at Hetland Arena in New Bedford.

But up until Oct. 13, cases at UMass Dartmouth had remained relatively low, with just 25 cases from the start of school in late August through Oct. 9. 

A total of 10,722 Covid-19 tests have been given so far at the university. 1,307 tests were given last week with 16 positive results, or a positive rate of 1.22%.

Due to the low number of tests given on Oct. 16, the positive rate for that day alone was nearly 3.5%.

“All students who visit or reside on campus are required to be tested,” stated university spokesperson Ryan Merrill in September, noting that faculty and staff are also encouraged to get tests, which are provided on campus. 

Although Merrill declined to say how many of the Covid-positive students reside on campus, he stated that special rooms have been set aside for them to quarantine. Students who commute to class and test positive must quarantine at home. 

The university reports all positive coronavirus cases through a regularly updated dashboard available at