Pitt adds 44 new cases since Oct. 27

The+Pitt+CoVax+Center+is+ready+to+administer+COVID-19+booster+shots+to+eligible+individuals+once+the+CDC+releases+guidance+about+boosters+and+vaccination+for+children+ages+5-11.

Pamela Smith | Visual Editor

The Pitt CoVax Center is ready to administer COVID-19 booster shots to eligible individuals once the CDC releases guidance about boosters and vaccination for children ages 5-11.

By Martha Layne, Assistant News Editor

Pitt officials said Thursday that 24 students and 20 employees tested positive for COVID-19 from Oct. 27 to Nov. 2.

According to an email sent by Pitt’s COVID-19 Medical Response Office, the University saw a “small uptick” in positive cases this week. They also reminded members of the Pitt community that as the weather gets colder, people need to remember to mask up indoors. 

Additionally, the email said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that fully vaccinated individuals get tested five to seven days after exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual even if they don’t have symptoms, which is a change from the CDC’s previous three to four day recommendation.

The email also said there was an increase from 2.0 to 3.4 average student cases per day. The CMRO said while this is not “immediately concerning,” it is something to watch.

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The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted Tuesday to approve administration of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. Pitt community members can register their family members for appointments — flu shots, first doses or booster shots — at the Pitt CoVax Vaccination Center.

The CMRO also said the Center is currently facing a “short-term period of very high need.” While at this time no individual wanting the vaccine — first or second dose — is being turned away, the email reminded people of the other vaccine providers in the area.

The email also said the University released an interim COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all students, faculty and staff. The policy said a COVID-19 vaccine will be required starting on Dec. 6 for everyone without a religious or medical reason or “strong moral or ethical conviction.” 

With Thanksgiving break approaching, the CMRO said they discourage spending time with anyone symptomatic and unvaccinated, as well as gathering in large, unmasked groups. The email also said the Pitt Healthcare Advisory Group decided that there is less need for additional testing around travel this year. They said individuals who are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic do not need to be tested before and after travel, but that they should still practice other mitigating measures such as masking up while on transit and practicing good hand hygiene. Unvaccinated individuals will need to submit a negative test result during Thanksgiving break, which can be sent in from home or after a visit to the onsite testing center.