Some call for more testing with 2nd Marquette dorm under quarantine

While the COVID-19 numbers Monday, Sept. 28 were not quite as bad as they were last week, and over the weekend, Wisconsin continues to rank among the states with the worst outbreaks. Marquette University officials, coordinating with the Milwaukee Health Department directed residents of Cobeen Hall to quarantine for 14 days beginning Friday night, Sept. 25.

Cobeen Hall

Cobeen Hall

It's a proactive measure after school and health officials identified an increasing cluster of cases, but many students said they fear it won't be enough to stop the spread of the virus -- some urging school leaders to ramp up testing throughout campus.

"It's not mandated, and I kind of wish it was," said David Towner, Marquette freshman.

This week, residents of Cobeen Hall will be tested for the virus after the dorm was placed on a 14-day quarantine Friday night in the wake of confirmed positive cases. The decision followed another quarantine at Schroeder Hall two weeks ago. 

David Towner

David Towner

Towner said he fears his dorm could be next.

"Two kids on my floor had to quarantine because they were suspected of it, but luckily, they didn't have it, but yeah, always in the back of my head," he said. "I'm always thinking who am I around, what am I doing, am I socially distant, do I have my mask on?" 

Coronavirus in Wisconsin

In total, 195 people have tested positive for the coronavirus at Marquette since the fall semester began. This, as Wisconsin ranks fourth in the country behind Texas, Florida and California for the highest number of cases in the past seven days. 

State data shows college-age people make up a majority of the recent spike. 

Many of the students affected at Marquette have chosen to go home rather than spend two weeks confined to their room. 

Marquette University

"I'm upset. I have to leave school," said one student. "I've been here like, a month."

While Marquette provides free testing and requires students to complete a COVID check questionnaire each day, Towner says it's not enough. He's anticipating a campus-wide lockdown in the coming weeks. 

Marquette University

"I expected it, especially after Labor Day, and I think everyone from long of quarantine we had and having to be stuck in our houses, I think now, we're at college, and we're with so many more people, and we have so much more interaction," said Towner.

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Marquette also held an online town hall until Monday afternoon for students, staff and faculty to update them on the COVID situation and also allow them to ask questions. 

A Marquette University spokesman issued this statement to FOX6 News: 

"As we did with the decision to quarantine students in Schroeder Hall, Marquette worked with the Milwaukee Health Department to take a proactive step to address a cluster of cases in one campus residence hall. The percentage of cases or total number of cases in a particular residence hall is not a trigger for quarantine; rather, the university’s medical team, in partnership with the health department, looks at the transmission rate between close contacts, as identified through contact tracing. In Cobeen Hall, two distinct clusters were identified over three floors within six days, with testing revealing a 6.4% positive rate among 266 residents. Marquette’s position is that it is better to quickly isolate those who test positive and quarantine those potentially exposed to contain the cluster and decrease further spread on campus, which could jeopardize our ability to continue to provide an in-person experience for our students this fall."


Marquette students quarantine after residence hall case cluster

Two weeks ago at Marquette's Schroeder Hall, another cluster of cases was reported and students there were placed under quarantine.


Residents of Marquette's Cobeen Hall directed to quarantine

Due to the quarantine, students are advised against leaving the building for classes or any other non-medical reason.