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Cornell University shuts campus amid 'red alert' COVID-19 outbreak

Cornell University shuts campus amid 'red alert' COVID-19 outbreak
Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., declared a COVID-19 Omicron "red alert," signaling a high risk of spread from the campus to the community. File Photo by intoit/Shutterstock

Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Cornell University's Ithaca, N.Y., campus closed its facilities to students Tuesday due to a big COVID-19 outbreak.

The university declared a COVID-19 Omicron "red alert," signaling a high risk of spread from the campus to the community.

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According to the Ithaca Voice, faculty and staff are still working.

Cornell closed many campus buildings after discovering the Omicron COVID-19 variant among student positive test samples on Monday.

Cornell's online COVID-19 dashboard shows there were 469 active student COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday afternoon.

Cornell President Martha Pollack said the Omicron variant was detected in significant numbers.

This disruption means all final exams at Cornell's Ithaca campus will be online. All student athletics and other student activities were cancelled.

Cornell posted a letter to the student body Tuesday that said the university is acting out of an abundance of caution because the Omicron COVID-19 variant is significantly more transmissable than Delta and other variants.

The university says COVID-19 transmission among faculty and staff remains low while student infections are spiking. But it says so far it has not seen severe illness in any of the infected students.

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