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Following lower October numbers, November sees uptick in COVID-19 cases at Duke

<p>Duke set up a tent for members of the community to eat outside in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.</p>

Duke set up a tent for members of the community to eat outside in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.

November saw higher numbers of positive COVID-19 tests at Duke, with a spike mid-month. 

There have been a total of 172 positive tests from Nov. 1 to Nov. 21, with a cumulative positivity rate of 0.33%. Of the positive results, 151 were among students, while the remaining 21 were among faculty and staff. 

The numbers have varied week to week, peaking in mid-November. During the period from Nov. 1 to Nov. 7, there were 25 positive results, for a 0.17% positivity rate. Two were among faculty and staff, with the other 23 among students.

From Nov. 8 to Nov. 14, around 10 days after Halloween, COVID-19 cases spiked on campus. Duke reported a total of 82 positive tests, with 74 of these coming from students and the other eight among faculty/staff. The positivity rate was 0.49%.

Of that week’s 82 cases, Duke noted that 52 were among graduate students, with 33 cases from students coming from the Fuqua School of Business. The number of cases in the second week of November was the highest Duke has reported in two and a half months.

The next week, between Nov. 15 and Nov. 21, there were 65 positive results and a positivity rate of 0.32%. Fifty-four of the positive tests came from students, and the remaining 11 were among faculty and staff.

November’s numbers have been generally higher than October’s; Duke reported 18 positive cases from Oct. 25 to Oct. 31 and only 14 cases each of the two weeks prior. The highest weekly number of cases in October was 33 from Oct. 4 to Oct. 10.

These numbers come in the wake of Duke easing outdoor masking guidelines at the beginning of the month. As of Nov. 2, masks are no longer required in outdoor congregate settings on campus, including sporting events. 

Duke considers the entire workforce to be compliant with the University’s vaccination policy. More than 96% of Duke’s workforce was fully vaccinated as of Oct. 11—but “if you include those who have had the first dose, that number is closer to 97%," Vice President for Administration Kyle Cavanaugh told The Chronicle. At least 98% of the student body was fully vaccinated as of Aug. 30.

In North Carolina, the COVID-19 test positivity rate has been between 3.7% and 7.8% daily in November. Similar to the spike on campus, the highest daily positivity rate was Nov. 14.


Anisha Reddy

Anisha Reddy is a Trinity sophomore and an associate news editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.

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