Miami’s COVID-19 cases put City of Oxford’s pandemic measures to test

Miami’s COVID-19 cases put City of Oxford’s pandemic measures to test
Miami University announced a dozen confirmed cases of COVID-19 Friday. (Source: WXIX)

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Days after the City of Oxford took action to prohibit mass gatherings, Miami University reported a dozen cases of COVID-19.

University President Gregory Crawford announced the positive tests — 10 among students, two among employees — on Friday, the last day in Miami’s first week of classes.

The university’s case dashboard does not provide total testing numbers or positivity rate, raising questions about the relevance of the data.

Per a plan announced in late July, undergraduate students are beginning classes remotely until at least Sept. 21. They won’t move in to residence halls until Sept. 14. Graduate students began on-campus classes Aug. 17.

Crawford’s statement reads:

“As we observe and assess the return to other universities, and the situation here in Oxford and Butler County, the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and communities are our paramount concern, and we are consulting with public health officials and reviewing our plans for the return to face-to-face instruction.

“The coming days and weeks will provide us with much more information to determine if we can still proceed with our planned residence hall move in beginning on September 14, and the resumption of in-person courses. It is our sincerest hope that we resume face-to-face instruction on September 21, and that we do not see further significant outbreaks at other universities or here in our local community but we must be realistic in our assessments.”

Prior to the cases being announced, the City of Oxford moved Tuesday to prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people. Violation of the ordinance can result in a civil penalty of $500 for first-time violators and $1,000 for any subsequent violations.

The ordinance covers indoor and outdoor gatherings.

It was passed in part preemptively responding to what Crawford described as the “troubling spread of COVID-19 on university campuses across the nation,” though reports have also surfaced of large gatherings of students taking place at Miami’s off-campus houses.

Extrapolating from the ordinance’s exceptions, it seems to be targeted at just those sort of gatherings.

The ordinance exemptions include libraries, malls, offices, university classes, officially sanctioned university functions, factories, warehouses, retail, grocery stores, buildings and venues that traditionally host mass gatherings, weddings and funerals.

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