A still-growing surge of covid-19 cases at the University of Pittsburgh has prompted leaders to urge students to take extra care and abide by shelter-in-place rules going into Easter weekend.
Between Tuesday and Thursday, the university reported an additional 54 cases of the coronavirus disease. Those include 51 students and three staff or faculty members, the college’s Pitt Covid-19 Dashboard shows.
Ninety-two students are in isolation as they recover from covid-19.
Students have been infected across at least 13 residence halls.
“This weekend and the week ahead are critical junctures in our fight against covid-19,” the university posted to its Twitter account Friday evening. “By adhering to mitigation measures and shelter-in-place protocols, you lower your risk, support the health of our community and help us avoid going to High Risk Posture.”
Most of the cases involve students at Pitt’s main campus in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, but regional campuses also have been confronting upticks in cases. Six students are in active isolation at the Greensburg campus, seven are in isolation at the Bradford campus and one is in active isolation at the Johnstown campus.
The new cases follow 30 additional covid-19 cases from last weekend that Pitt reported on Tuesday.
University officials could not be reached for comment late Friday.
On Wednesday, the university implemented a shelter-in-place period at its Oakland campus. Officials said at the time that the restriction will remain in place “until the (Covid-19 Medical Response Office) advises that it is safe to lift.”
“Of significant concern is that the increase in positive cases since the end of last week is now among our resident hall students,” university officials said in a statement earlier this week.
Officials further cited the concern of detecting Oakland campus cases linked to the B117 (United Kingdom) variant, known to be a more contagious and potentially severe or fatal mutation of the disease being reported around the world.
This weekend and the week ahead are critical junctures in our fight against COVID-19. By adhering to mitigation measures and shelter-in-place protocols, you lower your risk, support the health of our community and help us avoid going to High Risk Posture. t.co/lvNmncD7jR pic.twitter.com/i71sF8pbvF
— University of Pittsburgh (@PittTweet) April 2, 2021
Pitt’s five-day moving average of positive cases climbed from 8.6 to 13, the university’s data show.
Student positivity rates peaked on March 23, then dipped slightly before spiking again on Wednesday .
The university has been doing surveillance testing, which involves testing a random sample of the population returning to campus who live in both on and off-campus housing. Since Jan. 11, the overall covid-19 positivity surveillance rate is 0.72%. On March 18, the surveillance positivity rate climbed to 4.46%.
Among the latest data cited in Pitt’s coronavirus dashboard as of Friday:
• 92 students in active isolation;
• 11 faculty and staff in isolation;
• 1,113 student covid-19 cases since August; and
• 210 staff and faculty covid-19 cases since August.
Under Pitt’s shelter-in-place restriction, students are asked only leave their rooms or apartments to attend classes, pick up food, shop for essentials or other necessary activities.
Group work and student activities should be held virtually. Campus dining is available via takeout.
Common areas like residence hall lounges, recreation rooms and kitchens will be closed.
What's allowed while sheltering in place? Why are those activities permitted? How can I keep myself and others safe? The COVID-19 Medical Response Office answers common questions in today's message on the importance of sheltering in place: t.co/a6UtiGJiV7 pic.twitter.com/k197yvckBN
— University of Pittsburgh (@PittTweet) April 1, 2021