Pitt adds 137 new COVID-19 cases since Nov. 17

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Pamela Smith | Visual Editor

Pitt’s CoVax Vaccination Center located at the bottom of Nordenberg Hall.

By Martha Layne, Assistant News Editor

Pitt officials said Thursday that 85 students and 52 employees tested positive for COVID-19 from Nov. 17 to Nov. 30.

According to an email sent by Pitt’s COVID-19 Medical Response Office, community transmission in the state is high. They reminded members of the Pitt community that masking when indoors is “critically important” to keeping cases on campus “stable.”

The University’s CoVax Vaccination Center is booked up through December, but walk-ins are possible when available. There are other places in the community to receive vaccinations — such as UPMC facilities — and COVID-19 booster vaccines are recommended for anyone over the age of 18. The University-wide vaccine mandate goes into effect on Monday, and a booster is not required as part of the policy.

The CMRO said they are monitoring the new Omicron variant, which has been found in the United States but not on Pitt’s campus. They said many details of the variant are unknown, such as how transmissible it is and the severity of side effects. The email said the PCR and rapid tests that the University uses for testing are able to detect COVID-19 regardless of the variant, and that the vaccine is expected to be effective against the omicron variant.

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The CMRO email said the Pitt community should get vaccinated, as well as a booster dose if appropriate, and to keep wearing masks in order to further reduce the spread of COVID-19.