Campus Remains in Yellow Alert Level Despite Pronounced Increase in Active COVID Cases

4 min read

Daniel J. Nesbitt ’22

Managing Editor

Chief of Staff and Associate Vice President for External Relations Jason Rojas and Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management Joe DiChristina reported that Trinity’s COVID-19 active case count has risen to 37, all of which are students, in an email addressed to students, faculty, and staff on Monday, Apr. 5. This surge to 37 active cases is the highest active case total so far this semester.

Rojas told the Tripod that “the majority of cases have had a nexus” with positive cases that had already been identified, including students who were in quarantine. He also added that there were still some cases for which a nexus has not been identified, so the College “will be paying particular attention to those cases in the coming days.”

Just a week prior on Monday Mar. 29, as the Tripod previously reported, there were only eleven active cases (eight student, three employee/affiliate) with six students in isolation and 19 in quarantine. On the next day, Tuesday Mar. 30, Rojas reported an increase to 17 active cases (15 students, two employee/affiliate), and then again to 25 active cases (23 students, two employee/affiliate) on Wednesday Mar. 31, as previously reported by the Tripod. This increase in cases on Mar. 31 prompted the College to change the campus alert level to “Yellow” from “Green.”

Now, as of Monday Apr. 5, there are 37 active student cases with 21 students in isolation on-campus, 16 in isolation at home, and 77 students in quarantine for potential exposure to an active COVID-19 case. In their email, Rojas and DiChristina announced that the yellow alert level would continue “at least through Wednesday, April 7.” They clarified that although “the situation is manageable, the number of cases remains concerning.” Their email indicated that they are waiting on the test results from Monday, Apr. 5 and Tuesday, Apr. 6 before making a decision about the alert level status on Wednesday, Apr. 7.

The sharp uptick is reflected in the College’s weekly COVID PCR testing data. The graph shows the weekly testing rates for positive, inconclusive, and invalid results, as well as the total number of tests performed each week; The negative test rate was omitted for scale and clarity. As shown in the graph, the weekly positive test rate had gradually increased from approximately 0.02% to 0.17% between the weeks of Mar. 1 and Mar. 22, however, it sharply increased almost four-fold to 0.66%, reflecting this past week’s spike in cases and change to alert level yellow. There were slightly more tests conducted for the week of Mar. 29 (n = 4419), which could reflect the additional tests conducted for those students in quarantine for potential exposure.

There is no clear pattern or trend for the inconclusive test rate. Per the College’s Dashboard, an inconclusive test is a test for which “only one of the two viral probes signaled detection of the virus.” Similarly, there is no clear trend for the invalid test rate, however, there was a spike in the invalid rate for the week of Mar. 29 similar to the positive rate.

As the College continues to operate under the yellow campus alert level, certain restrictions will continue to be in effect. Under this alert level, dining from Mather Hall and The Bistro is grab-and-go only. There is a capacity restriction of ten students for “organized, supervised student activities,” while outdoor, unsupervised gatherings are restricted to six students. Notably, all athletic events, such as games and practices, are cancelled. Furthermore, students are only allowed to be on their own floor within their residence hall, and all dorm common areas are closed. Finally, students living off-campus “are not permitted in residence halls,” and students living on-campus are likewise “not permitted in off-campus housing.”

bclark

Brendan W. Clark '21 is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Trinity Tripod, Trinity College's student newspaper.

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