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Hospitalizations at U.Va. Health highest since COVID-19 tracker began reporting data in 2020

This week’s 55 new cases of COVID-19 bring total number of cases within University community to 454

<p>On Jan. 14,&nbsp; University leadership provided notice of new public health measures taking effect including a temporary ban on all food and beverages at University-affiliated events, a mandatory five-day isolation for those who test positive for COVID-19 and a continuation of the mask mandate.</p>

On Jan. 14,  University leadership provided notice of new public health measures taking effect including a temporary ban on all food and beverages at University-affiliated events, a mandatory five-day isolation for those who test positive for COVID-19 and a continuation of the mask mandate.

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Hospitalizations at U.Va Health due to COVID-19 this week hit an all-time high since the Health System began collecting data in August 2020, according to the University’s COVID-19 tracker. The seven-day average for new hospitalizations as of Thursday was 19.86. This followed an average of 20.43 Wednesday — the highest average since the tracker began updating in August 2020.

Before hospitalization averages began to increase on Dec. 16, the highest seven-day average hospitalization rate was 10.57 on Sept. 10 and 12. Fifteen patients were admitted to U.Va. Health with COVID-19 Thursday, bringing the current total of COVID-19 hospitalizations to 131.

The weekly average of COVID-19 cases per day also increased this week for both students and faculty, with an average of 46 cases between Sunday and Thursday.

There are currently 55 active cases of COVID-19 within the University community, which brings the total case count for the fall semester to 454. Of the 55 cases, 12 are students while 42 are members of the faculty and staff, according to the University’s COVID-19 tracker

The seven-day average positivity rate this week was 18.74 percent. The 19.92 percent positivity rate among faculty and staff in the same time frame was significantly higher than the student positivity rate of 13.54 percent.

The seven-day average of individuals tested per day was 222.6 Thursday, compared to 257.3 Sunday. Students make up a vast majority of those tested, with an average seven-day testing rate of 41.1 students and 181.4 faculty and staff. This number only includes tests administered through U.Va Health or LetsGetChecked and does not take into account other tests. 

The University is currently at zero percent occupancy for quarantine rooms and zero percent occupancy for isolation rooms. Quarantine rooms are for those who may have been exposed to COVID-19, while isolation rooms are for those who have tested positive for COVID-19.

In order to return to residential learning, students were required to either submit proof of full COVID-19 vaccination with a booster shot or provide documentation of an approved medical or religious exemption by Jan. 14. 

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 University President Jim Ryan, Provost Liz Magill, Chief Operation Officer J.J. Davis and K. Craig Kent, executive vice president for health affairs. 

Following the previous Jan. 14 deadline for students and employees to submit either proof of vaccination or proof of a medical or religious exemption, 97 percent of students are fully vaccinated while 85 percent of employees have received booster shots.

In the Blue Ridge Health District, 72.3 percent of individuals have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 65.7 percent of individuals are fully vaccinated. In addition to those fully vaccinated, 35.4 percent have been vaccinated with a third booster dose.

Magill and Davis outlined plans for the spring semester last week, including a temporary ban on all food and beverages at University-affiliated events, a mandatory five-day isolation for those who test positive for COVID-19 and a continuation of the mask mandate for all indoor spaces.

University leaders decided to retain last semester’s testing policies, which require weekly prevalence testing for unvaccinated students, faculty and staff. Asymptomatic students, faculty and staff may choose to schedule COVID-19 tests through Time2Test.

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.

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