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Duke reports 34 new positive COVID-19 tests for students, 28 for faculty and staff out of 10,287 total

<p>Test tubes for Duke's self-administered COVID-19 surveillance tests.</p>

Test tubes for Duke's self-administered COVID-19 surveillance tests.

Duke reported its highest number of positive COVID-19 tests yet in its first testing update of 2021, with a total of 62 new positive tests between Jan. 3 and Jan. 10 out of 10,287 total tests.

Among students, there were 34 positive tests out of 7,998 total, according to data released Tuesday on the University’s COVID-19 testing tracker, for a positivity rate of 0.43%. That includes eight positives among students who participated in surveillance testing, out of 4,320 total.

Entry testing has also begun for returning students who will be living or studying on campus in the spring, and 17 of 3,600 entry tests came back positive.Additionally, nine of 78 tests were positive among students who had symptoms or were determined to have been in close contact with someone who tested positive.

There were 28 new positive tests among faculty and staff out of 2,289 total, for a positivity rate of 1.22%. That number includes four positive surveillance tests out of 2,056 total, and 24 positives out of 233 tests conducted on faculty and staff who had symptoms or were contact traced  

This week saw the highest number of positive cases yet among both students and faculty. The increase comes as cases continue to rise across the country. 

In November’s Academic Council meeting, Executive Vice Provost Jennifer Francis said that the University expects to see a higher rate of positive tests from gateway testing in January than in August, due to the rise in COVID-19 cases locally and nationally and the fact that “people are quite tired.”

Based on January’s baseline positivity rates and on local and national COVID-19 infection rates, Francis also outlined four possible contingency plans for the spring semester. Duke spokesperson Michael Schoenfeld told The Chronicle last week that Duke was going ahead with the semester as planned, but could need to “pivot on short notice” if circumstances change. 



In total, 83 people were placed in precautionary quarantine between Jan. 3 and Jan. 10 andand 24 were released, according to Tuesday’s update. A total of 62 people were placed in isolation and one was released. 

Since Aug. 2, Duke has administered 188,371 tests and reported a total of 303 positives among faculty, staff and students. The University has conducted multiple kinds of testing, including entry testing of every returning student, testing based on symptoms and contact tracing, and pooled surveillance testing of asymptomatic people. 

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