COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina has confirmed that a student living in a Columbia campus residence hall tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

The other 11 USC students who have tested positive do not live on campus, according to the university. 

According to the university, under the direction of the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), the on-campus student and 17 others that were in the same building have been placed in quarantine. This is a preventative measure to minimize the risk to the campus and other students, according to a release. 

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Others who may have come in contact with the student are being notified by health officials. Students who are quarantined will be provided meals and staff is assisting the students with academic and health needs as they arise. 

Because of coronavirus concerns, the university asked any students who needed to stay on campus to apply for and receive special permission to remain. According to the university, these students were among those who received special permission. 

The university is aware of 11 other students as well as one faculty member who have tested positive for COVID-19. They all live off campus.

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According to the release, they university does not intend to release every new case of COVID-19 in the Gamecock community, but are trying to reinforce that no one is immune to the virus. 

Gov. McMaster ordered all campuses and universities to close and continue online classes for the rest of the semester. According to USC, the decision to close the campus for the remainder of the semester adheres to the advice of public health experts and is an attempt to maximize social distancing. 

The release adds, "We strongly encourage everyone in our community to please take the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe: maintain social distance, wash your hands frequently, monitor your health and self-quarantine if you develop symptoms." 

USC has set up a  COVID-19 website for additional information.