University community sees COVID-19 cases plunge but hospitalization rates stall as students head home for spring break – The Cavalier Daily

The weekly average of COVID-19 cases per day for both students and faculty saw another drop over the past week, with an average of 13.71 cases per day reported Monday and an average of 9.14 cases reported Thursday. Currently, a total of 66 individuals are hospitalized for COVID-19 at U.Va. Health.

On Jan. 11, at the peak of the wave of cases caused by the omicron variant, the seven-day average was 74.43 new cases per day — the seven-day case average has fallen 87.7 percent since that high.

There are 132 active cases of COVID-19 within the University community — a 69.5 percent reduction from this time two weeks ago. 92 of the active cases are students and 40 are faculty and staff, per the University’s COVID-19 tracker. 

Hospitalization rates have remained relatively constant over the last two weeks — the seven-day average for new hospitalizations was 12.14 on Feb. 23 and was 11.71 as of Thursday. 15 patients were admitted to U.Va. Health with COVID-19 Thursday, putting the current total of COVID-19 hospitalizations to 66.

The seven-day average positivity rate as of Thursday was 4.05 percent. The seven-day average positivity rate among faculty and staff Thursday — 11.37 percent — is significantly higher than the 2.64 percent rate for students.

The University is currently at one percent occupancy for isolation rooms, reserved for those who have tested positive for COVID-19.

University administrators announced Tuesday that it will lift its indoor masking requirement on March 21 for University-owned spaces including office buildings, IM-Rec facilities and venues. The mandate will remain in place in classrooms, U.Va. Health facilities and University Transit Services.

The University cited recent improvements in public health data as the reason behind lifting the restrictions. Hospitalizations and positive cases have been trending downward as the percentage of faculty, staff and students who are fully vaccinated has increased.

Over 99 percent of students comply with the University’s vaccination requirements while 85 percent of employees have received booster shots.

While the University previously required all faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated — and the University announced a booster requirement prior to the start of the spring semester, the University will no longer require faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment, per an email sent Jan. 19 to University employees by Ryan, Provost Liz Magill, Chief Operation Officer J.J. Davis and K. Craig Kent, executive vice president for health affairs. 

In the Blue Ridge Health District, 73.5 percent of individuals have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 69.0 percent of individuals are fully vaccinated. In addition to those fully vaccinated, 38.2 percent have been vaccinated with a third booster dose.

Asymptomatic testing is currently located in the basement of Newcomb Hall by appointment only Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 8 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. and Wednesday 7:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. Asymptomatic employee testing is available at the Jefferson Park Medical Office Building on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. through 9 a.m. Students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should schedule testing through their HealthyHoos portal, whereas faculty members experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms should contact Employee Health.

The University’s COVID-19 tracker is updated every weekday at 4 p.m.