COVID-19 cases rise as fall semester winds down

As students leave for Thanksgiving, the University sees the highest rise in cases since September.

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CW / Tomia Teague

In its final weekly update of the fall semester, the UA System COVID-19 Dashboard reported 142 positive test results among UA students, faculty and staff. 

This update coincided with the last day of classes before Thanksgiving break, which marked the end of in-person instruction until classes resume for the spring semester on Jan. 13. 

This was the highest number of positive test results reported in a single week since early September, bringing the total number of positive test results on UA’s campus to 3,027 for the fall semester. The Dashboard does not include the total number of tests conducted. 

Reported cases have remained relatively low for the past two months compared to the beginning of the semester. Cases peaked during the second week of classes at 846 positive test results. 

About 40% of faculty and staff cases were reported in the last three weeks.  This brings the total number of positive cases among faculty and staff to 193 cases since the beginning of this semester.

Sentinel testing, a random sampling of asymptomatic members of the campus population, found three cases among 642 people sampled this week. This sample falls short of the University’s stated goal to test 3% of the UA population each week. Participation in sentinel testing is voluntary. 

Free exit testing for students began on Nov. 5 and will continue on weekdays through Nov. 24. About 2,000 students had participated in exit testing as of Nov. 19. 

On-campus students who received positive results through exit testing will be transferred to isolation spaces according to UA Housing.

The University will maintain normal operations until Dec. 18, and campus services, like the dining halls, libraries, the Counseling Center and the Student Recreation Center will be available for students.