Pitt adds 414 new COVID-19 cases since Jan. 4

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Pamela Smith | Visual Editor

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

By Martha Layne, News Editor

Pitt officials said Thursday that 209 students and 205 employees tested positive for COVID-19 from Jan. 4 to Jan. 11.

According to an email sent by Pitt’s COVID-19 Medical Response Office, the high reported case numbers are due to the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, but case numbers should not be used as a measure of how COVID-19 affects everyday life.

The CMRO reported a 96% vaccination rate in students, a 98% vaccination rate in faculty and a 94% vaccination rate in staff. The University is currently operating under shelter-in-place guidelines, as well as a cohort-based arrival program for University housing move-in. These guidelines also require that classes are online unless approved by a school’s dean for in-person classes. Virtual classes will be in place until at least Jan. 26, with the last move-in cohort arriving on Jan. 22.

The email reminded all students in University housing that a COVID-19 test is required when moving back in. The CMRO said while there is isolation housing for students who test positive, some may need to isolate themselves in their residence halls due to the expected high number of positive cases. Students with high-risk roommates, and positive unvaccinated students without another housing option, have priority to isolation housing.

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The email added that Pitt’s goal is to “keep students in school and classes open, avoiding the negative mental health and educational effects of extended remote learning.”

The CMRO said Pitt community members need to prioritize their own health and the health of those around them. They suggested that everyone get vaccinated and boostered, get tested for any symptom, connect to Pitt updates and get help if necessary through Pitt’s mental health resources for students, faculty and staff.