97 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported this week, according to a UChicago Forward email sent to the University community Friday afternoon. In the email, Dean Rasmussen attributed the marked rise in cases to a string of on and off-campus parties held this past weekend. The recent outbreak marks a substantial increase from the 52 cases reported last week.
The influx brings the positivity rate on campus to 0.98 percent, the highest it has been this academic year. 59 students are in isolation housing on campus while 26 isolating are off-campus. A further 112 close contacts have been identified.
UCAIR, the University’s anonymous reporting system, received 23 reports this week.
In response to the outbreak, the University announced a seven day stay-at-home order to remain in effect until Thursday, April 15. On-campus students will not be allowed to perform in-person research, do in-person work, or engage in in-person team athletic activities during this time. Off-campus students will be permitted to participate in these activities, but only if they have no symptoms of COVID-19, have not been identified as a close contact this past week, and have not attended any unmasked gatherings or parties.
The news comes a week after Chicago rolled out Phase 1c of the vaccination distribution plan. More than 3,400 eligible members of the University community have received the vaccine through the plan. It is projected that Chicago will enter Phase 2 on April 19, allowing all Chicagoans aged 16 and older to be eligible for the vaccine.
According to the email, UChicago Forward “encourage[s] all eligible members of the University community to be vaccinated at their earliest opportunity, whether through our vaccine clinic or through other providers.”
Since Wednesday, the outbreak of cases has received statewide media attention and the attention of the College Council who drafted a resolution calling for fraternity leadership and their party-goers to be held accountable for the exposure.