COLUMBUS, Ohio — Several buses shuttled COVID-19 positive Ohio State students to a Marriott hotel near campus Thursday where the students will isolate for the next two weeks.
Ethan Deutsch, a sophomore who lives in campus housing, received a call from a university employee around 1:00 p.m. Thursday informing him that he would need to pack up and head to a bus stop in the North Campus area that afternoon.
Deutsch was notified in the morning that his test came back positive. The result was not a surprise, he said. The notice came just as his symptoms started to worsen.
“At first, it felt like really high-tier allergies, and I wasn’t sure that I was sick until I woke up this morning and I felt really bad,” he said.
He was given the choice to go home, but he opted to quarantine with the university, which meant going to the hotel.
“They told me that the current quarantine dorms are full so they would be moving us to the Marriott today,” Deutsch said.
Three buses transported students to the hotel Thursday. Students were assigned to a bus that had a pick-up location near their residence. Deutsch said the bus driver stepped off the bus while about a dozen students boarded. The first four rows of seats were blocked off to separate positive students from the driver.
At the hotel, students formed two single file lines to check-in. They received a supply of food, a gallon of water, an information pamphlet, an activity sheet, and a resistance exercise band. The accommodations have been luxurious and the university handled the situation responsibly, Deutsch said.
“They are treating us very well. The desk space is a kinda small for college students—it depends on what your workload is—but it’s a very nice room,” he said.
The university declined to comment on students being quarantined in hotels. A university spokesperson cited privacy reasons. The hotel front desk referred a request for comment to the university’s student life office.
Ohio State has launched a COVID-19 dashboard that shows how many students are in isolation and quarantine dorms. As of Sept. 1, 208 students who have tested positive were in isolation, 104 students who have been exposed were in quarantine, and 150 beds were available.
A Sept. 4, update showed the university had nearly doubled its total number of beds for isolation and quarantine. The update showed 335 students who have tested positive were in isolation, 142 students who have been exposed were in quarantine, and 381 beds were available.
Sunday night, the dashboard showed 1,500 students have tested positive since August 14. The university’s cumulative student positivity rate was 3.71 percent, and the seven-day average was 5.81 percent.
Young people in the 18 to 22 age group have accounted for 35 percent of the state’s positive cases in the last week as colleges outbreaks have worsened, Gov. Mike DeWine said during his briefing Thursday.
The University of Dayton reported 1,135 cases and Miami University reported 925 student cases in their most recent updates. Of the three schools, Ohio State is the only college currently holding in-person classes. Ohio State’s case numbers surpassed Dayton’s, making the outbreak on the Columbus campus the worst active outbreak anywhere in the state, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
“To our friends in college, we ask you to be careful because while all of us when we were your age thought we were invincible, you can pass this on,” DeWine said. “That really is the danger: It gets passed on to someone who is older, someone who has a medical problem.”