Association of Shared Living Spaces and COVID-19 in University Students, Wisconsin, USA, 2020

Wisconsin, USA, 2020

John Paul Bigouette; Laura Ford; Hannah E. Segaloff; Kimberly Langolf; Juliana Kahrs; Tara Zochert; Jacqueline E. Tate; Douglas Gieryn; Hannah L. Kirking; Ryan P. Westergaard; Marie E. Killerby


Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2021;27(11):2882-2886. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


We describe characteristics associated with having coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among students residing on a university campus. Of 2,187 students, 528 (24.1%) received a COVID-19 diagnosis during fall semester 2020. Students sharing a bedroom or suite had approximately twice the odds of contracting COVID-19 as those living alone.


In 2020, multiple outbreaks of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the disease caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), were documented in institutions of higher education (IHEs; e.g., colleges and universities) across the United States.[1–5] Before students returned to campus, IHEs implemented measures to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 on campus.[6–8] The congregate nature of on-campus residence halls might increase the odds of contracting SARS-CoV-2 because of close-contact exposure, but the association has not been well studied. We describe characteristics of on-campus students associated with having a SARS-CoV-2 infection, including if they shared living spaces, during the fall semester at a Wisconsin, USA, university.