Elon University reported 17 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. In an email to students, faculty and staff, chair of the Ready & Resilient Committee Jeff Stein said the spike in cases is related to a freshman residence hall. 

In the email, Stein said the Alamance County Health Department is reporting the cases as a cluster at East Neighborhood Building A residence hall. The outbreak has been traced to the first floor. 

Stein said the spike in cases could lead to Elon moving back up to Alert Level 2 – Moderate Alert, in the coming days. 

“We want people to know and be aware and sort of ready that it could go up,” Stein said in an interview with Elon News Network. “We don't want anyone to be shocked.”

Stein said the university offered indirect contacts the opportunity to be tested tomorrow. Approximately 100 tests are available for those individuals from Cone Health.

“I wish this weren't so stressful,” Stein said. “We understand this is incredibly stressful. This a year is like no other that I've seen, and I just hope that students are taking care of themselves and when they need support are asking for it.”

Elon freshman Gaby Minionis lives in East A. She said she never expected an outbreak to be linked to both her building and her neighborhood.

“It is a little bit unsettling just cause like elevator buttons and water fountains and you know, kitchens,” Minionis said. “But, luckily everything we need is on the third floor.”

Minionis said she has walked into her building several times using the main entrance and noticed that many people on the first floor don’t wear masks in common areas. To avoid going in the front door, she said she often uses the back staircase instead. 

“I think even taking precautions like that, even though those are small, they will help avoid this,” Minionis said. 

According to the university’s website, East Neighborhood is 96% freshman students. Minionis said the building was contacted by Director of Residence Life Marquita Barker today to inform them they may have been exposed to the virus. 

“Each floor is almost like their own building in a sense,” Minoinis said. “You don't really interact, which is nice in times like these, but of course I miss the sense of community.”