File photo of Cornell University

ITHACA, N.Y. — Cornell University has confirmed that the nine new positive cases announced by the Tompkins County Health Department on Friday were all Cornell students. The health department stated that the nine new cases all stemmed from  social gatherings, and Cornell’s release said that the cases came from “several small gatherings over the past week where social distancing and mask-wearing were not adhered to.”

The cluster was confirmed by the school on Saturday afternoon in a message to media and the campus community. A “cluster” is defined as five or more connected positive COVID-19 cases. According to the school, the students are isolated and under care, though it does not say if they are symptomatic or not.

“Cornell University is aware of nine, new positive COVID-19 cases detected within our student body,” Cornell VP of Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi said in a statement. “The students are in isolation and receiving proper care, and the Tompkins County Health Department is conducting contact tracing at this time. As I reminded our students in a message yesterday and again this afternoon, we must all do our part to follow Health Department and Cornell public health guidelines to limit the spread of the virus. Any student who is concerned about potential exposure should contact Cornell Health.”

Classes are scheduled to begin on Sept. 2. The school further stated that some students have been placed on “temporary suspension” for reported violations of the Behavioral Compact, though it was not specified if those suspensions are in specific connection with the positive cases.

“This is not our desired outcome, but as I stated yesterday, we will not hesitate to do so if the safety of our community is jeopardized,” Lombardi said.

The school’s COVID dashboard still does not list the nine cases, though it has only been updated up until Aug. 27. The case spike was reported Aug. 28.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that all nine positive cases were connected to a single social gathering.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com