The University’s COVID-19 tracker reported 16 new cases Wednesday. Of the new cases, 14 were students and two were faculty and staff. This is a slight increase from over the weekend, during which seven cases were reported.
Last week, the University increased the permitted size of outdoor gatherings from 10 to 25 individuals. While outdoor gathering limits have fluctuated throughout the semester, the indoor gathering limit has remained at six since the semester began, with the exception of the ban on all in-person gatherings that was in place for 10 days in mid-February.
University administrators announced Thursday afternoon that the University plans to resume in-person residential, educational and research experiences for the fall semester. Whereas only 27 percent of classes had an in-person component this semester, the University plans to conduct all classes in-person in the fall with students, faculty and staff living and learning in Charlottesville.
The University’s plan is based on the assumption that the vaccine will be “widely available” by the beginning of the fall semester and that the virus will be less widespread. Currently, the Blue Ridge Health District is vaccinating individuals with 1a and 1b vaccination designations, which includes frontline workers, those in correctional facilities, individuals over 65 and individuals with pre-conditions that put them at high risk. Around 35 percent — or 90,093 individuals — in the health district have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Students are urged to continue compliance with public health measures including mask-wearing, social-distancing and attending weekly prevalence testing appointments. Next semester, some less-restrictive measures may remain in place, though what they will look like is dependent upon the COVID-19 situation come fall.
“There may be a continuing need for some level of public health precautions, but we are optimistic that they will be much less restrictive than the protocols we have employed over the course of the past year,” administrators wrote.
Wednesday’s cases bring the total number of active cases to 66 and the total number of cases for the spring semester to 1,764 in comparison to 1,548 cases last fall. Of the spring cases, 1,509 have been student cases compared to 255 faculty and staff cases.
The weekly average of new cases per day increased this week, with a weekly average of eight from Sunday to Wednesday in comparison to five between March 21 and 27. The weekly average positivity rate has remained stable over the last week, with a positivity rate somewhere between 0.20 percent and 0.27 percent throughout the past 11 days. However, the weekly average positivity rate increased Wednesday to 0.32 percent.
U.Va. Health admitted two new patients for COVID-19 Wednesday, bringing the total number of in-house hospitalizations to 29. After one and three hospitalizations Sunday and Monday, respectively, the hospitalization rate jumped to six Tuesday but dropped back down to two Wednesday.
The U.Va. Health system tests all students weekly through its asymptomatic prevalence testing program. Wednesday, 2,881 new tests were conducted, bringing the weekly average for completed tests to 1,889. On average, it currently takes U.Va. Health 11 hours to complete a test.
The University continues to make little use of quarantine and isolation rooms, with 2 percent of quarantine rooms and 1 percent of isolation rooms occupied Wednesday. Isolation rooms are reserved for students who have tested positive for COVID-19 while quarantine rooms are available for those who believe they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive.
The Blue Ridge Health District, which contains Charlottesville and Albemarle County, currently has 14,503 cases of COVID-19, 28 of which were reported Wednesday. Albemarle County contains the most of any locality, with 5,284 cases, while Charlottesville contains the second most with 3,845 cases.