NU COVID-19 positivity rate continues to reach record-breaking numbers


Daily file photo by Angeli Mittal

While the University maintains that COVID-19 metrics on campus have been stabilizing, its positivity rate continues to reach record-breaking levels.

Angeli Mittal, Creative Director

Northwestern’s COVID-19 positivity rate reached its latest peak this week at 9.28%, rising almost two percentage points from last week’s positivity rate.

As positivity rates continue to rise, the three highest rates have all occurred in the last month, with last week seeing a positivity rate of 7.40% and 5.91% positivity rate marked for the week of April 8. Since April 8, positivity rates have consistently remained above 5%.

Aside from the 5.70% positivity rate seen at the start of Winter Quarter — correlating with the peak of the first omicron wave — most positivity rates have remained below 2%.

However, 2022 positivity rates have stayed consistently above 2% aside from the few weeks at the end of Winter Quarter when the first omicron wave subsided. Even then, positivity rates have not been below 1% since the week of Nov. 19.

Still, the only Universitywide communication about COVID-19 since this spike is the email Vice President of Operations Luke Figora sent last week, affirming the University’s decision to maintain its no mask mandate in all public spaces until the end of the academic year. 

NU received almost 800 more COVID-19 tests this week at around 4,800. However, with 450 new reported positive cases — an almost 50% increase from last week’s 302 cases — approximately one in 10 students tested have been positive for COVID-19.

The last time NU received at least 4,800 COVID-19 tests was the week of Apr. 8, when the number of positive cases was approximately the same as the amount seen last week.

Undergraduate students comprise exactly half of the University cases at 226 — 120 more than the amount seen last week.

Non-undergraduate students account for 24% of the cases at 110, while faculty account for 29 cases. Staff make up almost 19% of this week’s cases at 85.

At the same time, Evanston moved to a “High” transmission level Thursday, admitting a greater frequency of patients to hospitals this week just one week after the city declared its move to a “Medium” transmission level.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the original omicron subvariants BA.1.1.529 and BA.1.1 now account for less than 1% of COVID-19 cases. The dominant strain continues to be BA.2 at 56%, though BA.2.12.1 cases are rapidly rising, increasing 9.6 percentage points from last week.

NU students, faculty and staff can receive free, in-person asymptomatic testing at the Donald P. Jacobs Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m on weekdays. Those with symptoms should use the northwest side testing entrance at the Jacobs Center to receive in-person testing between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @amittal27

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