22W COVID-19 live updates: Active cases climb to nearly 700 on Tuesday

Follow along for the latest COVID-19 developments on campus.

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 1/18/22 9:23pm

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by Beam Lertbunnaphongs / The Dartmouth Staff

As active cases approach 700 on Tuesday, the College's COVID-19 Response Team urged students to submit booster documentation.

The Dartmouth will post short COVID-19 updates here throughout the 2022 winter term. Major developments, such as policy announcements, may be posted separately as their own article. Check back here and at thedartmouth.com for updates on current case counts and other campus developments.


Active cases climb to nearly 700 on Tuesday

Jan. 18 | 9:20 p.m.

On Tuesday, the number of active COVID-19 cases on campus jumped to 697, an increase of 81 from Monday. This number includes 578 undergraduates, 58 graduate and professional students and 61 faculty and staff members. The number of new cases detected over the past week continues to grow: 1,171 cases, including 890 among undergraduates, 147 among graduate and professional students and 134 among faculty and staff members, were reported in the last seven days.

The total number of people in isolation on or off campus has reached 716, up from 626 on Monday. Out of the 8,495 tests conducted over the last seven days, 852 came back positive, a positivity rate of 10.03%. During the week of Jan. 9, the test positivity rate was 10.37%. 

In an email sent to campus on Tuesday, the COVID-19 Response Team reminded students that they are required to submit booster shot documentation by Jan. 31. According to the email, students who are ineligible to receive a booster shot by the deadline should receive a booster within 30 days of becoming eligible. Individuals who are eligible to receive a booster but have not received one yet can visit vaccine clinics being held every Tuesday and Thursday this month at the former JCPenney location in the Upper Valley Plaza.  


Active cases fall over the weekend as College continues to loosen restrictions

Jan. 18 | 6:50 p.m.

On Monday, the number of active COVID-19 cases on campus fell from a record-high 761 to 616, according to the COVID-19 dashboard, a drop of 145. This number includes 510 undergraduate students, down 71 from Friday; 43 graduate and professional students, down 65; and 63 faculty and staff, down nine. However, the number of new cases detected over the past week surpassed 1,000 for the first time: 1,092 cases have been reported in the last seven days. 

The total number of people in isolation on or off campus fell to 626 on Monday from 782 on Friday, a decrease of 156 people. In the last week, 8,826 tests were conducted on campus and 892 came back positive, a 10.11% positivity rate. 

Additionally, the COVID-19 response team sent out an email to campus Sunday with updated policies for the term. According to the email, masked indoor social gatherings are permitted on campus beginning Monday, so long as they do not feature food and drink. Event organizers should plan to have KN95 masks available, and they will be available for free at West Gym, Collis Center and at all test kit pick-up locations starting tomorrow. Faculty and event organizers also have the right to require the use of KN95 masks in the classroom and at events. 

The Class of 1953 Commons is now fully open for indoor dining; however, grab-and-go options will still be available and students in isolation or quarantine will continue to pick up meals at Sarner Underground after a positive COVID-19 test.  


Active cases climb steadily on Friday to 761

Jan. 14 | 8:40 p.m.

The COVID-19 dashboard reported on Friday that the total number of active cases on campus has increased to 761 –– an increase of 47 from 714 active cases on Thursday. This number includes 581 undergraduate students, up 48 from Thursday; 108 professional and graduate students, up six; and 72 faculty and staff, down three. 994 people have had active cases of COVID-19 in the last week. 

In reaction to the sharp climb in COVID-19 cases this week, interim provost David Kotz and executive vice president Rick Mills sent an email urging students to “recommit to diligent mask wearing” in all indoor public spaces on campus and in the Upper Valley. They encouraged students to wear KN95 masks, which are available for pickup at West Gym, Collis and — starting on Monday — take-home test pickup locations around campus. 

Kotz and Mills also wrote that students coming out of isolation should be particularly careful about wearing masks for the full 10 days after a positive test result, even if they received a negative rapid test result on day five or seven of isolation. 

The total number of people in isolation on or off campus climbed to 782 on Friday from 727, an increase of 55 people. In the last week, 8,415 tests were conducted on campus and 908 came back positive, a 10.79% positivity rate. 


Active cases jump by 164 on Thursday to 714, dashing hopes of a slowing outbreak

Jan. 13 | 9:13 p.m.

The COVID-19 dashboard reported on Thursday that total active cases on campus jumped to 714 total, an eye-popping increase of 164 from the 550 cases reported the day before. 

The increase in cases has noticeably spiked among undergraduate students; the breakdown includes 533 undergraduate students, up 150 from Wednesday; 102 professional and graduate students, up 11; and 79 among faculty and staff cases, up three. It also comes after two days of single-digit increases in the number of active cases. 

In total, just under 1,000 people have been considered active cases in the past seven days: 716 undergraduate students, 147 graduate and professional students, and 130 faculty and staff. The undergraduate number suggests that at least 15.7% of the undergraduate population of 4,566 students — including those not on campus or in the Upper Valley — has contracted COVID-19 in the last week alone.

The number of individuals in isolation on or off campus jumped to 727 on Thursday from 564 on Wednesday. Over the past seven days, the College has performed 8,640 tests for COVID-19, 880 of which came back positive — a 10.19% positivity rate. 


Six new active COVID-19 cases bring total number to 550

Jan. 12 | 11:20 p.m.

Amid College emails encouraging “ongoing flexibility,” the COVID-19 dashboard reported that active COVID-19 cases on campus reached 550 on Wednesday, a single-digit increase from 544 on Tuesday. This includes 383 undergraduate students, no change from Tuesday; 91 among professional and graduate students, up one; and 76 faculty and staff cases, up five. 

The number of individuals in isolation on or off campus increased to 564 on Wednesday, up from 559 on Tuesday and 545 on Monday. Over the past seven days, the College has performed 8,760 tests for COVID-19. 818 came back positive, a 9.34% positivity rate. 

A Wednesday email to campus from interim provost David Kotz and executive vice president Rick Mills emphasized the College’s dedication to in-person classes and activities due to the mental health effects of the pandemic. The two wrote that COVID-19 is moving from “pandemic” to “endemic status,” and discussed reducing risk via masking, testing and vaccine mandates while resuming normal activities. 

Dean of the faculty of arts and sciences Elizabeth Smith wrote to faculty on Monday that the “rapid increase” in positive COVID-19 cases on campus may require “additional flexibility,” according to an email obtained by The Dartmouth. Smith explained that professors may decide the absentee threshold for switching to remote learning, previously set at 40%. Professors who wish to switch to remote learning for longer than a week of consecutive classes need to notify their department chair and associate dean, she added.

 

Daily increase in active COVID-19 cases slows to single digits

Jan. 12 | 1:45 a.m.

On Tuesday, the College recorded its slowest growth in active COVID-19 cases since the winter term began, according to the COVID-19 dashboard. Currently, there are 544 active cases on campus — a slight increase from 536 on Monday. While active cases among the undergraduate student population grew from 368 on Monday to 383 on Tuesday, the number is down from 95 to 90 among graduate and professional students and from 73 to 71 among faculty and staff members.

The number of individuals in isolation on or off campus increased to 559 on Tuesday, up from 545 on Monday. This figure includes 383 undergraduate students, 90 graduate and professional students and 86 faculty and staff. 

744 of the 8,701 tests run in the last seven days came back positive, a positivity rate of 8.55%. 763 new cases have been detected over the last week as of Tuesday, including 527 undergraduate students, 123 graduate and professional students and 113 faculty and staff.


College reopens most indoor dining as active cases surge past 500

Jan. 11 | 12:15 a.m.

There are 536 active COVID-19 cases among members of the Dartmouth community as of Jan. 10, according to the COVID-19 dashboard, an increase of over 100 cases from Friday’s 434. This figure includes 368 undergraduate students, 95 graduate and professional students and 73 faculty and staff. 

In total, there have been 520 cases of COVID-19 among the undergraduate population on or near campus in just one week — over 11% of the total undergraduate student body of 4,556 students. Termly census figures for the winter term are not yet available from the Office of Institutional Research, but the winter term typically sees slightly lower enrollment than the fall and spring quarters, meaning that the percentage of students at and around who have contracted COVID-19 is likely higher than 11%. 

There are 545 individuals isolating on or off campus as of Monday. Out of 10,444 tests run in the last seven days, 851 have come back positive, a positivity rate of 8.15%. 

Despite the surge, the College’s COVID-19 Response Team announced Monday afternoon that effective Monday evening, sit-down dining would once again be available in Collis Café, Novack Café, Courtyard Café and on the top floor — but not the main floor — of the Class of 1953 Commons. Previously, sit-down dining was scheduled to be reopened at the end of this week. 


Active cases blow past 400, but growth slows, as first week of classes ends

Jan. 7 | 9:00 p.m.

A day after The Dartmouth reported that the College has begun a shift toward treating COVID-19 more like an endemic disease — one that is present in the population at relatively stable levels — active cases have reached another all-time high. There are 434 active cases in the Dartmouth community as of Friday, according to the College’s COVID-19 dashboard.  

Of those more than 400 cases, 292 are among undergraduate students, 74 are among graduate and professional students and 68 are among faculty and staff. 566 cases in total have been detected in the last week, meaning that some are no longer considered active. 

Total cases increased from 375 on Thursday, but Friday marks the first day this week that the daily increase slowed: Just 59 new cases were reported, lower than the 65 new cases on Tuesday, 76 on Wednesday and 108 on Thursday. 

498 of the 8,344 tests run in the last week have come back positive, a positivity rate of 5.97%. 446 people are currently isolating, 250 on campus and 196 off campus. 


Active cases reach 375, over 100 more than day before

Jan. 6 | 10:45 p.m.

Active COVID-19 cases reached 375 on Thursday, according to the COVID-19 dashboard: 254 undergraduate students, 62 graduate and professional students and 59 faculty and staff. All categories saw double-digit increases from the day before. 

The enormous number is more than double the peak of last winter’s outbreak, and the more than 100-case jump from Wednesday to Thursday represented the fourth straight day of escalating increases: On Monday, Jan. 3, the dashboard reported 126 active cases of COVID-19, jumping by 65 on Tuesday to 191, by 76 on Wednesday to 267 and finally by 108 today to 375. 

497 students, faculty and staff have had a case in the past week; only 375 active cases suggests that more than 100 individuals’ cases are no longer considered active. 

409 of the 6,983 tests run in the last week have come back positive, a positivity rate of 5.86%. 384 people are isolating either on or off campus. 

The booster shot clinics on Jan. 10 and 11 will make available 1,000 vaccine doses over both days, College spokesperson Diana Lawrence wrote in an emailed statement. The clinics will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 10 and 11 in Alumni Hall in the Hopkins Center for the Arts. Community members can register online at the Axiom Medical Vaccine Vault Portal.


Booster clinics scheduled as cases continue to surge

Jan. 5 | 10:45 p.m.

As of Jan. 5, Dartmouth is reporting 267 active cases of COVID-19 on campus among students, faculty and staff. Of those cases, 173 are among undergraduates (up from 112 yesterday), 45 are among graduate and professional students (up from 32 yesterday) and 49 are among faculty and staff (up from 47 yesterday). The 267 total cases represents 2.9% of the 9,177 active cases in New Hampshire.

Overall, 353 new cases  — split between 230 undergraduate students, 63 graduate and professional students and 60 faculty and staff — were detected in the last seven days, meaning that some cases detected recently are no longer considered active. 

The College has also changed how it presents isolation information on the dashboard. 275 individuals are isolating in total. The data is now broken down between those isolating on campus — 140 undergraduates, five graduate and professional students and zero faculty and staff — and those isolating off campus in the Upper Valley: 34 undergraduate students, 41 graduate and professional students and 55 faculty and staff. 

Additionally, the dashboard no longer shows the percentage of dedicated isolation space on campus that remains available. College spokesperson Diana Lawrence wrote in an emailed statement that “students are isolating in place, so that metric is no longer relevant.”

Dartmouth also announced new details on upcoming on-campus booster clinics: They will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 10 and 11 in Alumni Hall in the Hopkins Center for the Arts. Community members can register online at the Axiom Medical Vaccine Vault Portal. The College is requiring all students, faculty and staff to get booster shots by Jan. 31, or within a month of becoming eligible if they are not eligible by Jan. 31. 


Active cases on campus approach 200 at end of first day of classes, Kotz and Mills tell students to “act responsibly”

Jan. 5 | 12:45 a.m.

As the first day of a mostly in-person term closed, Dartmouth reported 191 active COVID-19 cases on campus — 112 undergraduate students, 32 graduate and professional students and 47 faculty and staff — on its dashboard. All three categories saw substantial increases from the day before; on Jan. 3, the College reported 72 cases among undergraduate students, 21 among graduate and professional students and 33 among faculty and staff. 

The figure is the highest number of active cases ever recorded on the dashboard, easily surpassing the winter 2021 outbreak that peaked at 143 active student cases and a handful of faculty and staff. That outbreak, which came long before the vast majority of community members were vaccinated, led to the closure of campus buildings, a return to “arrival quarantine” procedures for all students and temporary business closures in Hanover. 

In the last seven days, 3,626 tests have been processed, resulting in a positivity rate of 5.43%. Students are required to complete a test at West Gym within 48 hours of their arrival and no later than Jan. 5. Upon completion of a test, students are given a bag containing take-home testing materials and several N95 masks.  

Additionally, the number of pre-arrival tests — also required of most domestic students — that have back positive is now 157, up from 152 on Jan. 3. Pre-arrival results are not counted as part of active case counts or tests processed unless they were run in the Upper Valley. 

In an email to campus Tuesday evening, interim provost David Kotz and executive vice president Rick Mills confirmed that all College-sponsored indoor social gatherings — but not academic or religious events — will be canceled for the first two weeks. However, they do not “intend to police enforcement” and encouraged students to “act responsibly” and to consider gathering outdoors. 


Pre-arrival and on-campus positive cases spike as term begins, but no change to operations

Jan. 4 | 11:30 a.m.

The number of active COVID-19 cases on campus rose dramatically yesterday, the day before in-person classes begin, according to data from Dartmouth’s COVID-19 dashboard. The site now reports 126 total active cases — 72 among undergraduate students, 21 among graduate and professional students and 33 among faculty and staff — as of Jan. 3. According to an archive of the dashboard, on Dec. 29, there were 37 active cases on campus: 11 undergraduates, 10 graduate or professional students and 16 faculty and staff. 

The number of pre-arrival tests coming back positive has also jumped, from 80 on Dec. 29th — out of 1,989 tests run, a positivity rate of 4.02% — to 152 on Jan. 3 out of 2,255 tests run, a positivity rate of 6.74%. Pre-arrival testing results are not included in the confirmed cases on campus unless they were run on someone in the Upper Valley, the dashboard notes.  

College spokesperson Diana Lawrence confirmed that the College is not altering its plans for the term, writing in an emailed statement that “there are no changes to community guidelines at this time.”

Lawrence added that the College attributes the surge to the “national situation” and said it is not a surprise. It is currently unknown, she wrote, whether or not the omicron variant is the cause of the surge of cases on campus.

The rise mirrors a nationwide surge in COVID-19 infections due to the spread of the extremely transmissible omicron variant. Over a million cases were identified yesterday, according to The New York Times, driving the seven-day average to nearly 500,000, a 239% increase on two weeks before. New Hampshire is recording nearly over 1,300 cases a day on average, a record high. 

However, while the omicron variant is more transmissible than the previously predominant delta variant, it also seems less likely to cause severe disease and death. This is especially true among those vaccinated and boosted, though additional factors like age and underlying health conditions can still impact risk. 

The vaccination rate among students, faculty and staff is 97.6%, and the College has mandated that all members of the community receive a booster shot by Jan. 31. 

The dashboard will be updated once per day, normally at the end of the day, Lawrence wrote. 

“At this time,” she added, “the numbers are constantly changing.”

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