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Based on official figures, Notre Dame attributes greater than 50 coronavirus circumstances to an off-campus social gathering

Students on the Notre Dame University campus

Alfredo Sosa | The Christian Science Monitor | Getty Images

An off-campus party has spurred a surge in coronavirus cases at Notre Dame University, which has now reported more than 140 cases since the school started tracking them about two weeks ago, according to a university official.

Notre Dame reported 147 Covid-19 cases on Monday, a sudden surge in infections about a week since students returned to campus for the fall semester. This emerges from the coronavirus dashboard, which was last updated on Tuesday.

Monday's total marks another 80 cases since Sunday after the university revised its case number. Half of the 30 tests taken on Sunday alone were positive, according to the dashboard.

Cases have skyrocketed since the university reported its first positive case on Aug. 6. Almost 16% of the 927 tests performed so far have been positive.

Almost 12,000 students were tested prior to arriving on campus as part of the university's preliminary exams, and only 33 tests, well below 1%, came back positive, according to the university.

Paul Browne, a spokesman for the university, told the South Bend Tribune Friday that many of the cases were due to an off-campus party. He said party goers didn't wear social distancing or face coverings. A spokesman for Notre Dame was not immediately available to CNBC for comment.

"What it reinforces is our concern that it will only take a weak link," Browne told the Tribune. "You can have a very strong chain, but having just one weak link can lead to an increase in numbers."

Browne added that university officials believe they can continue with face-to-face classes.

The outbreak comes as Notre Dame tries to reopen its campus while also controlling the spread of the coronavirus. The university announced that it will be running surveillance tests that will help determine how widespread the virus is and will run daily health checks.

Notre Dame isn't the only university trying to contain outbreaks since reopening its campus. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced Monday that it was canceling in-person undergraduate courses after an outbreak spread across campus within weeks.

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