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COVID-19 outbreak reported at high rises near UArizona campus

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Posted at 3:58 PM, Sep 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-13 20:09:21-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — A COVID-19 outbreak has been reported at student high rises west of the University of Arizona campus, according to a letter sent from Councilman Steve Kozachik.

In the letter, Kozachik says after testing and contact tracing efforts, it was discovered the Hub At Tucson has 45 positive cases. He adds there are 490 residents living in a "confined congregate setting."

Some of the students tested reported false negative results from the antigen test they received on UArizona campus before testing positive with the PCR test administered by the city, according to Kozachik.

During a Zoom meeting with Hub management, Pima County Health and Rescue Me Wellness which lasted over an hour on Saturday afternoon, I requested building management mandate 100% testing for all of their residents. They declined, citing restrictions in their leases. The UA can, and should exercise the leverage they have to compel testing by immediately issuing a directive that prevents any student from continuing to participate in any form of classroom instruction, including virtually, until they have produced a negative COVID-19 test result coming from a reliable PCR test, and that process must be repeated every 3 weeks until the end of the semester.
Ward 6 Council Member Steve Kozachik

Pima County will issue orders to close swimming pools at the high rises, and other measures are being explored by which individual rooms may be quarantined, according to Kozachik. Management will need to provide isolation rooms for students during their 14-day quarantine period. All common areas must be closed off within each building.

Each of the high rises has been leased to almost 90 percent building capacity. UArizona and the city will need to provide off-site isolation room options if space is not available within the given high rises.

The Hub at Tucson has a statement on its website regarding how it is working together to keep the community safe, saying:

The safety and wellbeing of our residents are always our top priority. As you are well aware, Coronavirus (or COVID-19) is an increasingly significant concern in the U.S. – including college campuses. Rest assured, our property will remain open for our tenants. We are aware of a number of universities taking action to curb face-to face contact in larger-scale settings and we ask that residents exercise the same level of precaution within our building.
Hub Tucson

KGUN9 has reached out to the Hub at Tucson, and UArizona for a statement.