Brendan W. Clark ’21
Trinity College reported 45 currently active, positive cases as of Saturday evening, according to the College’s COVID-19 dashboard. This was significantly more cases than confirmed by the Tripod in reporting earlier today, which indicated seven confirmed active cases with unconfirmed reports of as many as 14.
Trinity’s active COVID-19 case count increased by 24, more than doubling from Wednesday, when the College reported 21 cases over a two-day period. The College has now reported 72 positive cases, with 12 prior, since the start of testing for the academic year in late August.
Trinity’s positivity rate for this week is 1.03%, including 3 prior, with 1.92% invalid and 97.0% negative, according to the latest reportable data.
Chief of Staff to the President Jason Rojas suggested in a message Saturday that the new cases primarily affected “clusters of students who live in off-campus housing” and that clusters “don’t appear to be diffusely spread across campus.” DiChristina indicated Wednesday that cases were from among students who “live in different locations on and off campus.” The College has previously declined to acknowledge independently confirmed reports of clusters on Vernon Street and Allen Place, primarily among athletic team houses.
The College also elected Saturday to suspend in-person classes through Friday, October 16th and noted that the College believes this may help “get back on track and continue the semester as we’d all anticipated.”
In an uptick of cases that appears to be unprecedented in the NESCAC, Trinity’s 45 active student cases are the highest in the league, with all other NESCAC schools combined having 16 active student cases based on the most recently reported data.
Schools adjacent to Trinity–including Yale University, UConn, Wesleyan, and Connecticut College combined–have fewer currently active, positive student cases. Yale University has 5 as of Oct. 8, UConn has 8 as of Oct. 10, Wesleyan has 0 as of Oct. 9, and Connecticut College has 9 as of Oct. 9.
Since August, Trinity has had nearly double the number of confirmed, positive COVID-19 cases compared to nearby Yale University in New Haven, which is similarly located in an urban center in Connecticut, despite a smaller overall student population size.
The College did not increase the alert level to “red” Saturday and has previously declined to specify a case threshold requirement for an alert level change, though has told the Tripod that any decision will take into account a “number of considerations with a focus on the prevalence of the virus on campus.”
Rojas indicated that of the 45 active cases, 10 students had elected to return home. Students in isolation are “doing well” and a “small number…are reporting mild symptoms,” according to his email.
Rojas did not respond to the Tripod’s requests Saturday afternoon regarding what other facilities are being utilized by the College for quarantine and did not indicate which buildings on-campus were in use in his message Saturday evening, aside from reference to “dedicated isolation facilities.”
In addition to the previous standards announced Wednesday, Rojas noted that students “living off-campus may not visit residence halls” and that students “in campus housing may not visit off-campus housing.” Gatherings of any size, indoors and outdoors, were suspended Saturday, though the College indicated that there would be “guidance on allowable individual outdoor activities” released Monday.
The Tripod reached out to Rojas Saturday evening for additional comment following this article’s publication and will update as appropriate.
This is a developing story and the Tripod will update as more information becomes available.