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Davidson College Reports COVID Cluster

by | Aug 29, 2020 | Local, News

‘Cats wear masks, but some students are still testing positive.


On Thursday, News of Davidson published a short article about the COVID-19 dashboard set up by Davidson College to provide the community with details about the ongoing COVID testing on campus. That article was included in our Friday morning email.

Friday evening, the college issued a statement regarding a small cluster of cases on campus, and the detailed protocols in place as a result of these cases. Following the release from the college, the Mecklenburg County Health Director issued a statement. Both are provided below:

The Statement from the College to the Davidson College Community:

We want to provide some additional information about our COVID testing. We let the Mecklenburg County Health Department know that this week we have received five positive test results for which we have since identified a possible connection. That doesn’t mean they are connected, only that it’s plausible. The county officials confirmed this afternoon that the tests fit the definition of a “cluster.”

The students in this cluster are isolating, and while they are currently asymptomatic, their health is being monitored. Contact tracing has been completed, and students identified as requiring quarantine have been sent there. Fortunately, the number of students requiring quarantine is low, which is a reflection of when our community adheres to our health and safety guidelines.

The students in the cluster are members of the baseball team, but any transmission among them likely was from social settings. We say this based on the contact tracing and on our experience in athletics. Athletic activities follow protocols set by the NCAA, NATA and American College of Sports Medicine that include 6 to 10 feet of social distancing and cleaning of equipment between iterations. They are supervised and screened by Davidson College athletic trainers and staff. The protocols were successfully followed over the summer with our athletes and the only positive case developed after one student made an authorized trip home to another state. Training also continues outdoors even though the state of North Carolina permits indoor training by the teams. Out of an abundance of caution, however, we have suspended all baseball activities for two weeks.

Our weekly testing continues to provide invaluable help. It is catching positive tests in asymptomatic students, and reinforcing that our prevention efforts, when practiced, are working. On Thursday, for example, 643 people tested, including a retest of the entire first year class, and there were zero positive tests.

The information on the college’s COVID dashboard as of August 29.


Among the 1,607 students on campus being tested weekly, we have received 14 positive results since August 17th. Of those, 8 are isolating on campus, 5 are doing so at home and one has recovered.

We conducted more than 1,800 pre-arrival tests and received 15 positive results. Of those 11 students are isolating at home and did not travel to campus. The others tested positive because of a previous infection from which they had recovered. You can test positive up to three months afterward.

The positive result cases serve as an important reminder to us to treat every individual on campus, including yourself, as if you are infected with the virus.  Stay 6 feet apart, wear your mask, and wash your hands regularly.  With these precautions, we can keep our campus community safe.

Information about test results at Davidson can be found here, on the college’s testing dashboard, which remains the primary source of information about test results. This dashboard is updated each day, Monday through Friday.

Core COVID Response Team

Kim Ball

Chris Clunie

Philip Jefferson

Mark Johnson

Robert Lutz, MD

Ann McCorvey

Byron McCrae

Sarah Phillips

Carol Quillen

The following is the statement from Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris:

“We are working with Davidson officials to assure that those who test positive for COVID-19 are appropriately isolated and that contacts are quarantined. We investigate any potential clusters and provide guidance as needed.

As we continue to see, this virus exploits any process flaw or failure to do what we know stops the spread…wear a mask, wash your hands and stay six feet apart.”


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