Pitt officials: COVID-19 cases on campus similar to November levels

PITTSBURGH — Officials at the University of Pittsburgh continue to sound the alarm after the latest update from the Oakland campus had COVID-19 cases “at similar levels to where they were in November before students went home.”

According to the university’s website, 28 students tested positive on Friday, marking the highest number of new cases in a single day. Since the last update on Friday, 46 more students have tested positive, 94 students are in isolation and two new faculty or staff cases have been reported.

Officials said the way the virus is spreading now is different than how it happened in the fall, however. Most of the new cases are “in small pockets throughout multiple residence halls” and the cases have “not revealed clear connections.” Officials said they suspect the spread is occurring off campus and that students living in the dorms are either not getting tested or are not reporting positive test results.

“The goal is to protect campus,” officials said in their latest update on the outbreak. “The virus is probably even more widespread than we know. Current spread is endangering our campus and surrounding communities.”

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Pitt medical officials said they are no longer conducting randomized testing on the Oakland campus due to rising case numbers, plummeting response rates to invitations for surveillance testing and pandemic fatigue. Instead, any asymptomatic student who feels they may have been exposed can get tested for COVID-19 at the Posvar testing site.

There are more than 19,000 undergraduate students enrolled at the university’s Pittsburgh campus.