Northwestern reports 205 COVID-19 cases this week


Daily file illustration by Angeli Mittal

The number of COVID-19 cases on campus has been steadily increasing for the past three weeks. The University reported 205 positive cases from Dec. 10 to 16.

Hannah Feuer, Assistant Campus Editor

Northwestern’s COVID-19 positivity rate more than doubled for the second week in a row as many undergraduates departed Evanston for Winter Break.

Out of 3,426 tests taken this week, 205 came back positive. The positivity rate jumped to 5.98% compared to last week’s 2.48%. 

The number of COVID-19 cases has been steadily increasing for the past three weeks, with this week representing the highest number of cases the University has ever reported in a single week. Campus activity level is now designated “yellow,” meaning the University may implement increased testing or reduced in-person activity for targeted populations. 

Non-undergraduate students accounted for more than half of the positive cases, at 139. Staff accounted for about a quarter of the positive cases, at 56. Eight faculty members and 25 undergraduate students also tested positive. 

Last week, the University announced students will be required to report results of an at-home COVID-19 test the day before returning to campus in January. Students must also take an in-person COVID-19 test during the first week of classes. 

Administrators advised students to receive COVID-19 booster shots over Winter Break, but there is currently no mandate in place. Those ages 18 and older are eligible for a booster shot either six months after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two months after receiving one dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot. 

Across the country, more than 20 colleges and universities are now mandating students receive booster shots as the omicron variant continues to spread. In Chicago, DePaul University moved their first two weeks of Winter Quarter instruction online. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness caused by the omicron variant. Ninety-eight percent of NU students, faculty and staff are fully vaccinated, according to a University email sent in November. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @hannah_feuer

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