Pitt adds 13 new COVID-19 cases since Thursday, announces Wednesday vaccine clinic

By Martha Layne, Assistant News Editor

Pitt added 13 new COVID-19 cases, composed of 12 students and one employee, between last Friday and Monday, with 37 students currently in isolation. The University’s previous case report, covering last Tuesday to Thursday, included 31 cases.

This is the sixth case report since Pitt moved to the Elevated Risk posture and began a shelter-in-place, and arrives after the Allegheny County Health Department and state health officials have continued to report high case numbers. According to hospital data compiled by The New York Times, about 86% of ICU beds in the Pittsburgh area are currently occupied, compared with 81% statewide and 71% nationally. UPMC Shadyside is at 95% capacity and has 11 ICU beds remaining.

The COVID-19 Medical Response Office said Pitt will hold a Moderna vaccine clinic Wednesday afternoon from noon to 6 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center for all Pitt employees and students over the age of 18 who need their first vaccine. The office said while there will be a second clinic in approximately four weeks for those who need a second dose, everyone who is eligible should receive their first dose now, regardless of if they will be in Pittsburgh when it’s time for the second dose. Students can register to schedule their appointment using the code “H2Pvax21,” which expires Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. 

The CMRO also said they are in need of 10-15 clinical and non-clinical volunteers for this week’s clinics.

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The University has had 1,370 students and 243 employees test positive since June 26, with 1,333 students and 238 employees recovered thus far.

There are 37 students currently isolated at home or in Pitt’s isolation housing, which is reserved for those who have either a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection. Pitt has about 300 isolation beds.

Pitt has stopped its systematic, random testing strategy, which involved testing several hundred students each week on Mondays and Wednesdays. Instead, students can utilize walk-up testing at Posvar Hall at various times throughout this week and next week.

The University implemented a variety of new policies due to the pandemic during the spring semester, though some community members question whether the safeguards are sufficient. Students needed to have a negative COVID-19 test before moving back to campus and were encouraged to shelter in place at least seven days before moving in. Once on campus, students were required to shelter in place again for at least 10 days or until the CMRO announced that it was safe to move about campus. Students could attend classes during this time. Pitt has also planned testing of students to monitor the virus’ spread, required students, faculty and staff to complete COVID-19 training and imposed strict penalties for violations of health guidelines.

Kenyon Bonner, vice provost and dean of students, said student organizations who host a party or event can face suspension and students hosting large parties can be suspended. Students living on campus who attend large parties can have their housing suspended for the semester and students living off campus can be switched to persona non grata status, preventing them from entering University buildings or property.