Pitt adds 4 new COVID-19 cases since last Friday


Kaycee Orwig | Senior Staff Photographer

The Cathedral of Learning watches over an empty Pitt campus.

By Mary Rose O'Donnell, Contributing Editor

Pitt added four new COVID-19 cases, composed of three students and one employee, as of Friday’s weekly case report. The University has had a total of 23 students and 10 employees test positive since June 26, with 20 students and three employees recovered thus far.

The University’s uptick in cases comes as Allegheny County has seen a persistent surge in cases over the past few weeks. The county reported a slight decrease in daily case numbers over the past week, though there were still four different days where over 100 people tested positive.

The Oakland campus is mostly empty, besides for student-athletes who have returned for voluntary workouts. Pitt football players began a phased return on June 8, and quarantined for two weeks before beginning voluntary workouts. Men’s and women’s basketball and soccer, as well as volleyball players and staff, returned to campus June 29 and quarantined for two weeks before beginning voluntary workouts.

Officials said the University still plans to bring students back to Oakland in August — roughly three weeks away — for classes. Flex@Pitt, the University’s new teaching model, will enable students to attend class in-person or online, in an effort to prevent continued spreading of the virus. The University will operate under a three-tiered reopening system, with different amounts of in-person activities allowed under each tier. Pitt’s fall testing, quarantining and contact tracing plans have not been released yet, though the University said they would be available later this month.

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said Wednesday that he is concerned about the state of the country at this point in the ongoing pandemic. He said while he thinks Pitt’s planning approach is “robust,” it is tough to plan for a situation that is constantly changing, especially with the surge in cases in Allegheny County.

“We’re looking at trying to start a fall semester under very different circumstances than we thought we were facing even a few weeks ago,” Gallagher said. “I sort of get it. In fact, I feel it myself.”