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University Reports Second Highest Number of Undergrad COVID-19 Cases, Decrease from Previous Week

Boston College reported its second highest number of COVID-19 cases ever last week, with 210 undergraduate students testing positive out of 7,526 undergraduate tests—a positivity rate of 2.79 percent—according to the BC Forward website

The University’s undergraduate positivity rate dropped 1.73 percent from last week, which saw a record-high positivity rate of 4.52 percent after students returned from Winter Break.

Non-undergraduate cases on campus also declined, with 51 positives out of 1,664 tests. The non-undergraduate positivity rate this week was 3.06 percent, according to the latest update, compared to the previous week’s 4.56 percent. 

Amid a nationwide surge of the Omicron variant, BC announced updated spring semester COVID-19 restrictions during its Winter Break, including a temporary mask mandate and heightened penalties for testing noncompliance. 

The temporary mask mandate, which requires that all members of the BC community wear a mask on campus “wherever physical distancing cannot be maintained,” is set to end on Jan. 31.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 are required to isolate for at least five days. If they have decreasing symptoms and no fever after the fifth day, students can leave isolation.

Senior Associate Director of Media Relations Ed Hayward told The Heights last week that the University was not facing a shortage of isolation housing. 

“The University has an ample supply of beds for isolation housing,” Hayward wrote in an email. “This past weekend, some students entering isolation housing were given the option of having a roommate. Students are isolating both on campus and at home.”

Though it is unknown whether COVID-19 cases on BC’s campus will subside or rise again, Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the U.S. president, said during a segment on ABC’s This Week that the Omicron wave is nearing its peak nationally. Massachusetts’ reported seven-day average of confirmed cases has slowly declined since Jan. 9, though the seven-day average of confirmed COVID-19 deaths has not decreased as of Jan. 19.

“Things are looking good,” Fauci said in the segment. “We don’t want to get overconfident, but they look like they’re going in the right direction right now.”

Featured Image by Nicole Vagra / Heights Editor

January 24, 2022