Daniel J. Nesbitt ’22
Garrett Kirk ’24
Vice President of Student Success and Enrollment Management Dean Joe DiChristina sent out an email Friday, Apr. 9, informing the Trinity community of the current status of COVID on campus.
DiChristina said that “Test results from Thursday show three new cases since our Wednesday update. Five students have cleared isolation today, as they are not symptomatic and have been in isolation for 10 days.” DiChristina explained that when accounting for those changes, “We now have 47 active cases (44 students and 3 employees/affiliates), and about half of those students have chosen to isolate at home rather than on campus.” By Monday, Apr. 12, that number had dropped to 26 active cases among students and 3 among employees and affiliates.
This original increase was a modest one, up from 37 earlier last week as the Tripod reported on Apr. 5. The number of students in quarantine for potential COVID exposure was 77 as of Apr. 5, however DiChristina’s recent Apr. 9 email did not provide any data on the number in quarantine.
DiChristina mentioned in his Apr. 9 email that “We hope to be able to return to a green alert level next week, but at least through the weekend we will remain at a yellow alert level,” with certain modifications to contain the virus on campus.
Most of the listed restrictions previously implemented under code yellow remained unchanged, however DiChristina’s email did change the restrictions with respect to athletics. “Athletic teams,” the email read, “may exercise in supervised groups limited to 10 participants.” Previously, all athletic events, including both games and practices, were cancelled.
DiChristina reiterated to students that “We want you to enjoy being together and having in-person classes. We want you to enjoy the sunshine and spring weather,” however “it is critical that you continue to wear masks, maintain proper physical distancing, isolate and quarantine when directed to, and limit travel to essential, pre-approved purposes.”
DiChristina lastly asked students to “Please remain diligent to these guidelines. Your efforts can allow us to return to level green and remove various restrictions.”
Since DiChristina’s Apr. 9 email, Trinity’s COVID Dashboard has been updated. As of Monday, Apr. 12, the 29 active cases reflected a decrease of 18 since DiChristina’s email, while the number of students in quarantine has decreased by 48 since Apr. 5, both trending in a favorable direction.
The Tripod also examined the College’s weekly COVID PCR testing data. The graph shows the weekly testing rates for positive, inconclusive, and invalid results, as well as the total number of tests performed each week. The negative test rate was omitted for scale and clarity.
The slight increase in COVID cases is reflected in the decreased positive test rate from Mar. 29 to Apr. 5, dropping from approximately 0.66% positive to 0.50% positive. The weekly positive rates for the past two weeks (Mar. 29 and Apr. 5) are significantly higher than that of the previous four weeks. The number of tests conducted has remained fairly consistent each week. There is no clear observable trend for the inconclusive or invalid testing rates across the semester, though the invalid rate does appear to mirror the positive rate between the weeks of Mar. 22 and Apr. 5. The mean inconclusive and invalid rates are 0.093% and 3.32%, respectively, while the median inconclusive and invalid rates are 0.106% and 3.28%, respectively.
Since the 13-week semester began on Feb. 8, there have been a total of 74 positive test results among members of the Trinity community.
Trinity is on the higher end of cumulative COVID cases this spring semester, though not the worst. Colby College and Bates College have seen a total of 120 and 119 cases, respectively, this spring semester including both students and employees. Trinity is next highest at 74, though Wesleyan University is not far behind at 68 total cases among students and employees. Notably, Tufts University and Williams College do not distinguish their total cumulative data from their spring semester cumulative data. Last semester, at its peak, Trinity’s outbreak in mid-October impacted close to 60 students.