Gallagher responds to increase in COVID-19 cases on campus


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Chancellor Patrick Gallagher discussed the University’s recent shift to the Elevated risk posture and the uptick of coronavirus cases on campus at Thursday afternoon’s Senate Council meeting.

By Rebecca Johnson, News Editor

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher praised how closely most students have followed mitigation measures, amid a rise in COVID-19 cases on campus the COVID-19 Medical Response Office linked to an increase in social gatherings over Halloween.

“We did see an increase in gatherings that weekend — by the way it’s still quite good,” Gallagher said. “I’m still quite impressed with our students and how seriously they’re taking this, but we did notice a modest increase.”

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher also discussed the University’s recent shift to the Elevated risk posture and the uptick of coronavirus cases on campus at a Thursday afternoon Senate Council meeting.

Pitt enacted a series of measures Monday due to a rising number of cases on campus, including a campus-wide shelter in place three days earlier than previously scheduled. It also shifted to the Elevated risk posture — the middle level of Pitt’s three-tiered reopening system — which places more restrictions on in-person activities on campus. Pitt added 74 new COVID-19 cases, composed of 73 students and one employee, between last Friday and Monday, with 110 students currently in isolation.

Pitt’s football program also paused all team-related activities on Thursday “due to COVID-related protocols,” making it the third Pitt varsity program to halt operations for fCOVID-19 concerns in the past two weeks.

Regarding the shelter in place, Gallagher reiterated that Pitt is committed to not spreading COVID-19 to students’ families and friends off campus.

“We have really been focused on the idea that we don’t want to export virus from Pittsburgh back to students’ homes,” Gallagher said. “While our students are a fairly low-risk population, their families may not be.”

Gallagher added that the University is “well within its capacity to respond” to the rise in cases.

“This is kind of exactly what we designed this for,” Gallagher said. “Nothing’s broken down yet.”