The university recently announced a new series of restrictions applying to on- and off-campus students to slow the spread of coronavirus in the community before it gets completely out of hand. It justified these changes by noting the “rise in the number of COVID-19 cases among students in the University of Delaware community” in recent days.
What exactly do these COVID-19 numbers look like, and how do they hold up to last semester?
The university’s COVID-19 dashboard provides some answers to these questions.
In the past weeks, from Feb. 21 to Feb. 27, the university has reported 324 new positive cases, with a peak last week of 89 cases on Feb. 24. These numbers are, respectively, the highest number of weekly cases and the highest number of daily cases that the university has ever reported.
These case numbers have more than tripled the weekly numbers of Feb. 14 through Feb. 20, which had a total of 65 new cases.
This week’s numbers also far surpass those recorded the first and second week of the Fall 2020 semester. The first two weeks of the fall semester, respectively, had 36 and 74 new positive cases.
This recent spike in COVID-19 cases compared to past numbers may be due to the fact that currently, 4,000 students are living on-campus, as compared to the 1,300 living on-campus during the fall. The university has yet to specify if more or less students are living off-campus this spring.
Nonetheless, with more students living on-campus and the increased potential for COVID-19 case numbers to spiral out of control, the university has enacted changes, such as limiting students to only the to-go option from dining halls and reducing capacity in student centers, in order to try and prevent a further outbreak. The university also warned students about further restrictions if the positivity rate continues to tick higher, including moving classes online and restricting off-campus students from visiting campus.