After a spike in coronavirus cases among University of Colorado at Boulder students, public health officials are banning 18- to 22-year-olds from gatherings of any size in the city of Boulder.

The order from the Boulder County Department of Health was announced Thursday and went into effect the same day. It will be reevaluated in two weeks, with county officials looking to see “whether there is success in reversing the curve of infection,” university Chancellor Phil DiStefano wrote in a message to students, faculty and staff.

The health department said it had become “essential to slow the virus among CU Boulder students aged between 18 to 22 years old.” It noted that since classes started on Aug. 24, there have been 1,392 confirmed or probable positive cases among University of Colorado at Boulder students in that age group — representing 78 percent of the county’s caseload in that time period.

“By reducing the rate of potential transmission of COVID-19, this Order helps to prevent increased disease transmission across the greater Boulder County community and preserve critical and limited healthcare capacity in Boulder County,” the health department said in a news release.

As part of the order, students at 36 off-campus properties identified as outbreak sites, places that pose an increased risk or have had unlawful gatherings or other violations, are required to stay home, except for essential activities.

In the message to the university community, DiStefano wrote that the campus supports the order but added, “We are also concerned about the impacts it will have on our students.” He said the school will provide additional resources.

“Like many of our peer universities across the country, we continue to face new challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he wrote. “Some have enacted similar approaches to ours and are successfully reducing their positive cases. I believe we can as well, but only if we work together and make sacrifices for each other.”

The Washington Post

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