Marquette reports record COVID-19 cases among students

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) on Thursday, Nov. 5. reported the second-largest rise in COVID-19 cases for a single day -- more than 5,900. It is the third consecutive day that new cases have surpassed 5,700.

Marquette University hit its own alarming COVID-19 record this week, too. On Tuesday, 31 students tested positive for COVID-19 -- the highest single-day total yet this fall.

On Wednesday, the new-case count dropped down to 20, but the university still marked a new record high seven-day average of 18 additional cases per day.

"Not only do we not have a flattening of the curve, we have a steepening of the curve," said Dr. Ben Weston with the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.

Marquette University students say Halloween festivities could be to blame.

"It makes sense to me, because Halloween, it didn't really seem like people were refraining from going out. I'm guessing there was more refrain than like usual (but) there was still parties going on," said Jacob Benigni, a Marquette freshman. "I guess I'm not too surprised."

Social distancing sign at a Marquette University residence hall

Students said they are particularly concerned about the virus getting worse on campus over the next couple of weeks as they near Thanksgiving and don't want to infect loved ones when they travel back home.

"I originally wasn’t too nervous just because like I’m pretty young and I would most likely be able to get over it pretty easily," Benigni said. "But especially coming up to Thanksgiving, I would say I have to be extra careful because I don’t want to bring it home and not know I have it and pass it to my parents or my grandma that also lives with us."

Members of Marquette's School of Dentistry second-year class have been asked to quarantine after concerns of potential off-campus exposure to COVID-19 last weekend.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Get breaking news alerts in the FOX6 News app for iOS or Android.

The Milwaukee Health Department, as always, is working closely with colleges to monitor cases and mitigate further spread.

"We are aware and working with them to control the spread," said Marlaina Jackosn, Milwaukee's interim health commissioner.

In a statement to FOX6 News, a Marquette University spokesman said: 

Marquette School of Dentistry has taken the precautionary step of quarantining the second-year class from activities on campus and in the clinics. Concerns stemmed from possible exposure occurring off campus last weekend, rather than positive tests. Upon learning of the exposure, the Dental School moved swiftly to take this pre-emptive measure. Testing is underway and all students are adhering to the university's self-isolation guidelines.

Additionally, the university is aware of an increase in overall cases on campus and in our neighborhood, which is congruent with increases we are seeing in the state and Milwaukee County. We are monitoring the increase in community spread, rather than distinct clusters. Through aggressive contact tracing efforts in coordination with the City of Milwaukee Health Department, the Marquette Medical Clinic is closely monitoring the situation. The university follows all appropriate quarantine and isolation guidelines.

Lastly, the university continues to encourage all members of the Marquette community to be vigilant in exercising health and safety precautions to help slow the spread of COVID-19, including mask wearing, social distancing, frequent hand washing and avoiding gatherings.

Wisconsin DHS: COVID-19 cases up 5,922; deaths up 38

Thursday's reported case increase is the second-largest for a single day to date, just shy of a record 5,935 case increase reported the previous day.