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COVID-19 cases on Grounds remain low as more students receive vaccinations

Of the 7 active cases Wednesday, 5 were students and 2 were faculty and staff

<p>For now, the University continues to test students on a weekly basis and provide walk-in prevalence testing opportunities for faculty and staff as needed.&nbsp;</p>

For now, the University continues to test students on a weekly basis and provide walk-in prevalence testing opportunities for faculty and staff as needed. 

Five new student cases were diagnosed Wednesday, along with two new faculty and staff cases. These cases bring the number of active cases to 51 and the number of total cases for the spring semester to 1,720. The seven-day average positivity rate Wednesday was 0.22 percent. 

These new cases come after the University increased the permitted size of outdoor gatherings from 10 to 25 individuals Tuesday, effective immediately. Despite the new gathering limits, students were urged to continue compliance with public health measures including mask-wearing, social-distancing and attending weekly prevalence testing appointments. 

The weekly average of new cases from Sunday to Wednesday was six, compared to a weekly average of five between March 14 and March 17. 

Hospitalizations have also continued to decline, with three new hospital admissions Wednesday in comparison to five on March 18, bringing the total number of in-house patients being treated for COVID-19 to 26.

A large number of students traveled to Danville’s community vaccination center earlier this week in hopes of receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. The center — which is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and run by the Virginia Department of Health — was accepting walk-in appointments.

Some voiced concerns over the ethics of low-risk University students receiving vaccinations from a site intended to mitigate disparities in the Commonwealth’s vaccination distribution as Danville has a majority Black population. The VDH and Virginia Department of Emergency Management released a statement Wednesday clarifying that any individual without an appointment or invitation to get vaccinated at the center will be turned away. 

Wednesday night, Dean of Students Allen Groves passed along the statement to the student body from VDH and encouraged students to not travel to a community vaccination center without an appointment.

“U.Va. is working closely with the VDH to distribute the vaccines that are allocated to our region by the Commonwealth as quickly as we can,” Groves said. “We are hopeful that increasing supplies will permit additional allocations in the near future and that the BRHD will expand eligibility soon.”

Since March 8, the Blue Ridge Health District has been vaccinating individuals in both the 1a and 1b phases, which includes those over 65, those with underlying health conditions and those at high risk of exposure to COVID-19, including essential workers. 

For now, the University continues to test students on a weekly basis and provide walk-in prevalence testing opportunities for faculty and staff, as needed. 

If an individual living on Grounds does test positive for COVID-19, they are immediately sent to isolation housing, which is currently at one percent occupancy. Any individual living on Grounds who may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive is sent to quarantine housing, which is at one percent capacity. 

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

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