Group of Spring Breakers Test Positive for COVID-19 After Visiting Alabama Beach

A group of University of Wisconsin-Madison students have tested positive for COVID-19 after visiting a beach in Alabama during their spring break trip.

The Wisconsin university issued a letter to fraternity and sorority members on Friday informing them of the infections, although they did not specify the number of students who had been infected with coronavirus.

"Multiple students on this trip have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 and many others are reporting similar symptoms," G. Patrick Kelly, the University Health Services' interim medical director, said in the letter. "These symptoms include fatigue, cough, fever, nausea, and shortness of breath. Some people will experience other symptoms like sore throat, runny nose, nausea, or headache. The infections thus far have been mild, but we need to keep our campus community safe from further spread."

The group began their trip in Nashville, Tennessee around March 13, before then moving onto Gulf Shores in Alabama three days later, according to the letter. Most of the group's members returned home by March 20.

Kelly urged anyone else that had taken part in the spring break trip, which was organized by seniors, to self-quarantine for 14 days. "You cannot report to work and need to take the utmost of precautions to manage contact with others you live with," he added. "You should also not travel to a different location but rather remain at your current location."

Newsweek reached out to the University Health Services at UW-Madison for additional information.

Spring break
A student lies on the beer-can covered beach during the annual ritual of Spring Break March 25, 2008 on South Padre Island, Texas. Rick Gershon/Getty

The University of Wisconsin-Madison's announcement comes less than two weeks after the University of Tampa in Florida confirmed that five of their students had tested positive for coronavirus after traveling together for spring break. The Florida college reported that a sixth student, who had recently traveled internationally, had also tested positive for the virus but was not part of the spring break group.

In recent weeks, social media users have increasingly criticized "spring breakers" and other beachgoers across the country for congregating in groups and ignoring the White House's guidance on social distancing.

Republican Florida Senator Rick Scott told individuals to get off the beach earlier this month after images began circulating online showing crowded beaches in the state. "Individuals need to take responsibility and every level of government has got to be very clear: Don't be on the beach unless you can somehow be completely by yourself," Scott said on CNN "I mean, we've got to figure out the social distancing."

As of Monday afternoon, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. exceeded 160,000, with more than 3,000 deaths.