Philly tells students not to attend social gatherings outside their households

The advisory comes after Temple reported 58 positive cases among students on Friday.

Students cross Broad Street towards Main Campus on Aug. 24. The Philadelphia Department of Public Heath issued new guidelines telling college students to avoid social gatherings outside their household. | JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health urged college students in new guidance to avoid social gatherings outside of their households in light of COVID-19 outbreaks in the city being traced to small gatherings of students, according to a release.

Temple sent a TUalert to students on Saturday evening advising them to follow the department’s guidance and instructing them to avoid all social gatherings.

This guidance comes after the university announced 58 active positive COVID-19 cases among Temple students on Friday.

Through interviews with students who tested positive for COVID-19, the Health Department found that some students had potentially contracted the virus from going to social gatherings with fewer than 25 attendees, which is the city’s current limit on indoor gatherings, according to the release.

The Health Department recommends students wear masks in situations in which they can’t avoid being in close contact with people who do not live in their household.

“It does not require large social gatherings for this virus to spread,” said Thomas Farley, the city’s health commissioner, in a statement in the release.  “Any time two or more people are near each other without wearing masks, there is a risk.”

Interviews suggested the “risk continues in small social gatherings that are not organized or sanctioned by colleges,” the release states.

The Health Department is working on communicating details of the guidance to colleges and universities that have been working with the department on plans to reduce the spread of the virus, according to the release.

The Health Department recommends everyone in Philadelphia wears a mask around other people, stays six feet away from others, frequently wash their hands and seek testing if symptomatic or exposed to a positive COVID-19 case.

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