A UChicago Forward email sent Friday, April 15 reported 267 new cases of COVID-19 at the university and 654 close contacts for the period from April 8 to April 14. The number of cases represents an increase of almost 50 percent from the previous weekly count of 180 new COVID-19 cases.
In a separate email sent Friday afternoon, Assistant Vice President of Campus Life Richard Mason and interim CEO of Housing and Residential Life Heath Rossner also announced the return of insulation-in-place systemwhere students who “can minimize contact with others” isolate themselves in their dorm rooms instead of going into solitary confinement at Stony Island Hall.
They stressed that the change was a precautionary step and that there were still rooms available on Stony Island. There are currently 64 students isolating on campus, including on Stony Island, and 126 students isolating from campus.
Surveillance tests detected 78 cases between April 7 and April 13 with a positivity rate of 7.23 percent, representing an increase from last week’s positivity rate of 6.56 percent. The university completed the mandatory monitoring test for all students regardless of vaccination status on 28 February.
The email contained a reminder of the university exposure protocol, which requires anyone showing symptoms to stay home and close contacts wear a mask for 10 days after exposure. The University announced no further changes to COVID-related policies.
Last week, the university announced it would suspend weekly UChicago Forward emails unless additional emails were “needed before then.” This week’s unplanned email said the next scheduled update would be sent on Friday, May 6th. UChicago Forward will continue to update its online COVID-19 dashboard in the meantime, per. e-mail.
The email also noted the increase in cases the whole city. The city of Chicago’s seven-day average of 456 cases represents an increase of more than 45 percent from last week’s numbers, and the city’s positivity rate is currently 2.8 percent, up from 1.8 percent last week. The city’s COVID-19 dashboard included a note that “with Chicago Public Schools on the spring break of April 11-15, significantly fewer test results will be reported and test positivity may temporarily increase in the next few weeks. In general, test positivity has a reduced utility value due to the widespread use of point-of-care and home testing. “