October 23, 2020

37 New Cases Reported in Fourth Week as COVID-19 Rates Across the City Rise

University of Chicago Medicine

Courtesy of UChicago Medicine

UChicago Forward has reported 37 new cases of COVID-19 in the past five days, according to an email sent out to the University community early Friday afternoon. Out of 4,011 tests between October 16 and October 21, six were positive. The positivity rate over the same period is 0.15 percent, which is lower than the rates in the past four weeks, which have been 0.22, 0.2, 0.3, and 0.16 percent, since students returned to campus.

Out of the 37 cases detected, 26 are students and 11 are staff, according to the email. 48 close contacts were also identified and notified. “These figures include reports received from members of the University community who have not been on campus or are working from home,” the email said. 

Fewer than five students are currently in on-campus isolation, while 24 students are isolating off campus.

The University’s anonymous reporting system, UCAIR, received 43 reports this week, a decrease from last week’s 79 reports. The total number of reports since September 20 has risen to 336. 

This information comes in the midst of an increase in COVID-19 cases in Chicago. In response to this trend, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that all non-essential businesses must follow a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning today.

The CDC has also broadened the definition of “close contact.” Whereas one previously had to be within six feet of an infected person for 15 consecutive minutes to qualify as a close contact, now one must only be within six feet of an infected person for 15 cumulative minutes. This may lead to an increase of close contacts detected by the University’s Contact Tracing Team as they adopt the new guidelines.