Working Together to Protect our Community and Advance our Academic Mission

Weekly COVID-19 Updates

January 8, 2021 Update

Dear Members of the UChicago Community,

In this edition of the UChicago Forward Weekly COVID-19 Update, you will find the latest COVID-19 data, a reminder about University contact tracing, and an update on the City of Chicago Emergency Travel Order.

Latest Data

Overall Uchicago Cases
(since 12/18)*
Surveillance Testing Isolation Housing
80 New Cases N/A ** Fewer than five students are in on-campus isolation housing and nine students are isolating off-campus
42 Close Contacts   329 completed Isolation
(since 9/20)

* December 18 is the date of the last weekly update. This number Includes cases detected by surveillance and symptomatic testing, and reports received from people who have not been on campus, including those working from home.

** Surveillance testing data will resume next week when students have returned to campus for Winter Quarter.

COVID-19 Voluntary Surveillance Testing Winter Quarter Registration  

Individuals who are not already part of the University’s mandatory or voluntary COVID-19 surveillance testing will soon be able to register for the voluntary testing program for Winter Quarter. Those who were not previously enrolled and are eligible (e.g. regularly in a Chicago-area University facility, willing to commit to weekly testing, not a resident of University housing, or a student athlete) will receive more information next week.  Note: Capacity for new enrollments may be limited.

Those who were enrolled in the testing program in the Autumn do not need to take additional action to continue in the program.

Winter Quarter Attestation Form

All members of the University community, whether they will be on campus or not, are required to complete the online attestation form for the Winter Quarter, which acknowledges they have completed the University’s COVID-19 Safety Training and will comply with the University’s COVID-19 health requirements. The updated attestation for the Winter Quarter is available online and must be completed by January 19. You must complete the Winter Quarter attestation even if you completed the attestation for Autumn Quarter. The online training, a requirement separate from attestation, has not changed and will not need to be retaken if previously completed.

Importance of Contact Tracing

If you test positive for COVID-19 or have been potentially exposed to the virus, it is vitally important for you to cooperate with the University’s Contact Tracing Team. The Contact Tracing Team has been critical to the University’s successful efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 by identifying and notifying close contacts of known cases. The team works diligently to maintain the confidentiality of infected individuals, and to limit information about a patient’s identity to a small number of University personnel who are responsible for helping to support that individual. Please see UChicago Forward for more information on the importance of contact tracing.

Work-from-Home Update

The University’s current work-from-home approach is expected to stay in place at least through Winter Quarter; most offices should anticipate continuing work from home through that period. In-person work should be limited to tasks that can only be completed on campus, including education, research, student support services and other critical campus services. With classes resuming next week and more students and faculty present on campus, there will also be an increased presence of staff in some areas. However, reasons of individual convenience or efficiency are not sufficient to justify work on campus during this period.

Vaccination

President Zimmer and Provost Lee wrote this week with an update on the first phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution at the University of Chicago Medicine and Division of Biological Sciences. We will provide updates soon on planning for vaccine access for our campus and the communities of the South Side, in accordance with federal and local public health guidelines.

City and State Dashboards

City of Chicago

Seven-day COVID Positivity Rate

(More statistics)

10.8 % State of Illinois
Region 11 Seven-day COVID Positivity Rate(More statistics)
10.5 %

 

City of Chicago Emergency Travel Order

Effective December 29, 2020, the City of Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order lists 47 states and two territories as either the red or orange classification levels. Only Hawaii and Vermont are classified as yellow (Illinois is not classified).

Please note that the University continues to strongly discourage unnecessary personal travel, and University-sponsored domestic and international travel remains suspended due to COVID-19. Returning to Chicago following travel to states marked red requires a 10-day quarantine period upon your return; returning to Chicago from states marked orange generally requires either a 10-day quarantine period or a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago.  Visit the city’s Emergency Travel Order for more information.

Update on Ratner Athletics Center

We are pleased to announce that faculty, faculty emeriti, and staff now have access to the Ratner Athletics Center for Winter Quarter 2021. Membership is complimentary for the month of January and $20 per month starting in February. Registration is required, and visits to Ratner facilities must use the advance reservation system. The center will continue to use the modified building capacity and facility operations that were set last autumn with the goal of minimizing exposure and spread of COVID-19. More information and the membership application can be found on the Department of Athletics & Recreation website.

Heated Tents on Campus

Heated tents are once again available for students to use for study space and dining, for alternative spaces for instruction, and for approved extracurricular convenings. Strict capacity limitations and other guidelines apply when using the tents. For more information, visit UChicago Forward.

Upholding Public Health Requirements

UCAIR is the University’s anonymous reporting system that can be used to report concerns about compliance with COVID-19 health requirements. UCAIR received 17 reports this week related to COVID-19 issues, for a total of 621 reports since September 20. This included zero reports on campus grounds, 10 off-campus, zero in residence halls, two in non-lab research or other buildings, five in lab research buildings, zero in dining halls, and zero at the Medical Center. More reports came in this week from non-students than students. The most common themes continue to be small group gatherings without face coverings and social distancing. The University reviews new UCAIR reports daily and initiates interventions as appropriate.

December 18, 2020 Update

Dear Members of the UChicago Community,

In this edition of the UChicago Forward Weekly COVID-19 Update, you will find the latest COVID-19 data, information on the Winter Quarter attestation, and updated Winter Break surveillance testing hours.

Please note there will be no weekly email update for the next two weeks due to the holidays and Winter Break, but as always, you can find extensive information on the UChicago Forward website and the University’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

Latest Data
Overall Cases: The University has identified 22 new COVID-19 cases over the past week, including cases detected by surveillance and symptomatic testing, and reports received from people who have not been on campus, including those working from home. Ten of the new cases are students, and 12 are staff, faculty, or other personnel at the University. The Contact Tracing Team identified five close contacts this week – an average of about 0.23 contacts per positive case. Since September 18, the University has had a cumulative total of 470 reported cases of COVID-19.

Surveillance Testing Data: From September 20 through December 16, the University processed 52,438 tests as part of the Mandatory and Voluntary Surveillance programs, with 116 positive results, for an overall positivity rate of 0.22%. The latest seven-day surveillance testing has found six positive cases, with a seven-day positivity rate of 0.22%. Surveillance testing is intended to find cases among asymptomatic individuals; as such, the positivity rate provides important information about the state of the virus on campus. Results for most tests have been available within 24 hours, exceeding the 48-hour target.

Isolation Update: As of today, fewer than five students are in on-campus isolation housing, with nine students isolating off-campus. In all, 283 individuals have completed the isolation protocol since September 20. The UChicago Forward site has additional information on isolation for people who test positive for COVID-19.

City and State Dashboards

The City of Chicago’s seven-day positivity rate is currently 11.8%. Please visit the city’s COVID Dashboard for more information.

Illinois Region 11, which includes Chicago, has a seven-day positivity rate of 12.1% Please visit the state’s regional statistics for more information.

City of Chicago Emergency Travel Order

Effective December 15, 2020, the City of Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order lists 48 states and two territories as either the red or orange classification levels. Only Hawaii is classified as yellow (Illinois is not classified). The city also changed the length of the quarantine requirement from 14 days to 10 days.

Travel to states marked red requires a 10-day quarantine period upon returning to Chicago; travel to states marked orange generally requires either a 10-day quarantine period or a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago.

Visit the city’s Emergency Travel Order for a list of states/territories and for more information.

New Winter Quarter Attestation

All members of the University community, whether you will be on campus or not, are required to complete the online attestation form for the Winter Quarter, which acknowledges you have completed the University’s COVID-19 Safety Training and will comply with the University’s COVID-19 health requirements. The updated attestation for the Winter Quarter is available online starting today and must be completed by January 19. You must complete the Winter Quarter attestation even if you completed the attestation for Autumn Quarter. The online training, a requirement separate from attestation, has not changed and will not need to be retaken if previously completed.

Updated Winter Break Surveillance Testing Hours

The surveillance testing depots will be closed from December 24 through December 27 and again from December 29 through January 3. Testing depots will return to standard hours on January 4. On Monday, December 28, Surveillance Testing Program participants may receive their test at the Woodlawn Social Services Center (950 E. 61st St.) location only. For those not able to attend testing at WSSC on December 28, participation can be paused for the break and will resume as scheduled beginning on January 4. Symptomatic testing will still be available through the University of Chicago Medicine and UChicago Student Wellness. The full Winter Break surveillance testing schedule can be found here, and information on symptomatic testing is here.

Upholding Public Health Requirements

UCAIR is the University’s anonymous reporting system that can be used to report concerns about compliance with COVID-19 health requirements. UCAIR received 20 reports this week related to COVID-19 issues, for a total of 586 reports since September 20. This included one report on campus grounds, 11 off-campus, one in residence halls, zero in non-lab research or other buildings, five in lab research buildings, zero in dining halls, and two at the Medical Center. More reports came in this week from non-students than students. The most common themes continue to be small group gatherings without face coverings and social distancing. The University reviews new UCAIR reports daily and initiates interventions as appropriate.

December 11, 2020 Update

Dear Members of the UChicago Community,

In this edition of the UChicago Forward Weekly COVID-19 Update, you will find the latest COVID-19 data, and more on the number of students in isolation housing.

Latest Data

Overall Cases: The University has identified 21 new COVID-19 cases over the past week, including cases detected by surveillance and symptomatic testing, and reports received from people who have not been on campus or are working from home. Nine of the new cases are students and 12 are staff, faculty, or other personnel at the University. The Contact Tracing Team identified seven close contacts this week – an average of about 0.33 contacts per positive case. Since September 18, the University has had a cumulative total of 448 reported cases of COVID-19.

Surveillance Testing Data: From September 20 through December 9, the University processed 50,366 tests as part of the Mandatory and Voluntary Surveillance programs, with 110 positive results, for an overall positivity rate of 0.22%. The latest seven-day surveillance testing has found two positive cases, with a seven-day positivity rate of 0.06%. Surveillance testing is intended to find cases among asymptomatic individuals; as such, the positivity rate provides important information about the state of the virus on campus. Results for most tests have been available within 24 hours, exceeding the 48-hour target.

Isolation Update: As of today, zero students are in on-campus isolation housing, with six students isolating off-campus. In all, 277 individuals have completed the isolation protocol since September 20. The UChicago Forward site has additional information on isolation for people who test positive for COVID-19. 

City and State Dashboards

The City of Chicago’s seven-day positivity rate is currently 12.9%. Please visit the city’s COVID Dashboard for more information.  

Illinois Region 11, which includes Chicago, has a seven-day positivity rate of 12.9% Please visit the state’s regional statistics for more information.

Students in Isolation Housing

This marks the first week since the start of Autumn Quarter with zero students in on-campus isolation housing. While that is partly the result of having fewer students on campus at the end of the quarter, it’s a reflection of widespread adherence to public health requirements. This can also be seen in the fact that the 21 new COVID-19 cases across the campus community this week resulted in just seven close contacts. We are grateful for the careful behavior that makes such encouraging outcomes possible.

Upholding Public Health Requirements

UCAIR is the University’s anonymous reporting system that can be used to report concerns about compliance with COVID-19 health requirements. UCAIR received 16 reports this week related to COVID-19 issues, for a total of 715 reports since September 20. This included zero reports on campus grounds, seven off-campus, three in residence halls, two in non-lab research or other buildings, three in lab research buildings, zero in dining halls, and one at the Medical Center. More reports came in this week from non-students than students. The most common themes continue to be small group gatherings without face coverings and social distancing. The University reviews new UCAIR reports daily and initiates interventions as appropriate.

December 4, 2020 Update

Dear Members of the UChicago Community,

In this edition of the UChicago Forward Weekly COVID-19 Update, you will find the latest COVID-19 data, an update on initial availability of COVID-19 vaccines, and an update on University quarantine procedures.

Latest Data

Overall Cases: The University has identified 34 new COVID-19 cases over the past week, including cases detected by surveillance and symptomatic testing, and reports received from people who have not been on campus or are working from home. 16 of the new cases are students and 18 are staff, faculty, or other personnel at the University. The Contact Tracing Team identified 10 close contacts this week – an average of about 0.29 contacts per positive case. Since September 18, the University has had a cumulative total of 427 reported cases of COVID-19.

Surveillance Testing Data: From September 20 through December 2, the University processed 46,078 tests as part of the Mandatory and Voluntary Surveillance programs, with 101 positive results, for an overall positivity rate of 0.22%. The latest 7-day surveillance testing has found 2 positive cases, with a 7-day positivity rate of 0.08%. Surveillance testing is intended to find cases among asymptomatic individuals; as such, the positivity rate provides important information about the state of the virus on campus. Results for most tests have been available within 24 hours, exceeding the 48-hour target.

Isolation Update: As of today, fewer than 5 students are in on-campus isolation housing, with 9 students isolating off-campus. In all, 261 individuals have completed the isolation protocol since September 20. The UChicago Forward site has additional information on isolation for people who test positive for COVID-19. 

City and State Dashboards

The City of Chicago’s 7-day positivity rate is currently 12%. Please visit the city’s COVID Dashboard for more information.  

Illinois Region 11, which includes Chicago, has a 7-day positivity rate of 11.9% Please visit the state’s regional statistics for more information.

Planning COVID-19 Vaccinations for Healthcare Workers

The availability of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved vaccine will be an extremely important development in our ability to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The FDA is reviewing the safety and efficacy of the first vaccine candidate on December 10. If the vaccine is authorized, we expect the University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) will receive an initial allocation from the Chicago Department of Public Health soon after.

Nationwide availability of vaccines is planned to proceed in phases, with the first priority for frontline health care workers – especially those with direct patient care roles – and people in long-term care facilities. UCM is establishing a process, in consultation with medical ethicists, experts in healthcare disparities and clinical experts, to develop an administration strategy that prioritizes healthcare workers. 

If current projections hold, vaccinations should be available in the coming months for additional high-risk groups, with distribution for the general public beginning sometime this spring. We will keep the University community updated as these plans develop, bearing in mind uncertainties about vaccine availability. This process will continue to be informed by experts at UChicago Medicine as well as public health experts at the local, state and federal levels. 

New Quarantine Procedures

On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its quarantine recommendations to enable individuals without symptoms to end quarantine on day 10 without testing or on day 7 after receiving a negative test result from a test taken at least 5 days after exposure. After stopping quarantine, individuals should watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure. The University has updated its quarantine procedures accordingly.

City of Chicago Emergency Travel Order

Effective November 30, 2020, the City of Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order lists 46 states and two territories as either the red or orange classification levels. Only Hawaii, Maine, and Vermont are classified as yellow (Illinois is not classified). As a reminder, travel to states marked red requires a 14-day quarantine period upon returning to Chicago; travel to states marked orange generally requires either a quarantine period or a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours before returning to Chicago.

Visit the city’s Emergency Travel Order for a list of states/territories and for more information.

CARES Act Funds

We are pleased to share that the University has distributed $6.2 million from the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to more than 1,800 eligible students with the greatest financial need for their COVID-19-related expenses. Visit the HEERF website for more information. 

Upholding Public Health Requirements

UCAIR is the University’s anonymous reporting system that can be used to report concerns about compliance with COVID-19 health requirements. UCAIR received 13 reports this week related to COVID-19 issues, for a total of 550 reports since September 20. This included 0 reports on campus grounds, 7 off-campus, 3 in residence halls, 0 in non-lab research or other buildings, 2 in lab research buildings, 0 in dining halls, and 1 at the Medical Center. The reports reflected almost an even split between students and non-students. The most common themes continue to be small group gatherings without face coverings and social distancing. The University reviews new UCAIR reports daily and initiates interventions as appropriate.

November 20, 2020 Update

Dear Members of the UChicago Community,

In this edition of the UChicago Forward Weekly COVID-19 Update, you will find the latest COVID-19 data, testing updates for the holiday period, information on new state guidelines, and further recommendations on holiday travel and socializing during the winter months.

Please note there will be no weekly email update next week, but as always, you can find extensive information on the UChicago Forward website and the University’s COVID-19 Dashboard.  

Latest Data

Overall Cases: As of today, the University has had a cumulative total of 333 reported cases of COVID-19 since September 18, including cases detected by surveillance testing as well as reports from members of the University community who were tested after experiencing symptoms or having potential exposure to COVID-19. This number includes reports received from people who have not been on campus or are working from home. Of 64 new cases identified overall in the last week, 43 are students and 21 are staff, faculty, or other personnel at the University. The Contact Tracing Team identified 51 close contacts this week – an average of about 0.80 contacts per positive case.

Surveillance Testing Data: From September 20 through November 18, the University processed 39,716 tests as part of the Mandatory and Voluntary Surveillance programs, with 90 positive results, for an overall positivity rate of 0.23%. The latest 7 full days of surveillance testing found 28 positive cases, with a 7-day positivity rate of 0.43%. Surveillance testing is intended to find cases among asymptomatic individuals; as such, the positivity rate provides important information about the state of the virus on campus. Results for most tests have been available within 24 hours, exceeding the 48-hour target.

Isolation Update: As of today, 5 students are in on-campus isolation housing, with 37 students isolating off-campus. In all, 178 individuals have completed the isolation protocol since September 20. The UChicago Forward site has additional information on isolation for people who test positive for COVID-19. 

City and State Dashboards

The City of Chicago’s 7-day positivity rate is currently 15.3%. Please visit the city’s COVID Dashboard for more information.  

Illinois Region 11, which includes Chicago, has a 7-day positivity rate of 15.5% Please visit the state’s regional statistics for more information.

Testing Updates

Both the Mandatory and Voluntary Surveillance Testing Programs will continue to operate during Autumn Quarter when instruction is fully remote, and in reduced locations and hours during holiday breaks for people who are staying on campus. However, we recognize that many participants of both programs will not be on campus during these times and therefore will not able to be tested. For more information, see the updated testing information on the UChicago Forward website.

New State Guidelines

Effective, today, November 20, all 11 regions in the State of Illinois will revert to Tier 3 of the Restore Illinois plan, as announced earlier this week. The state’s Tier 3 guidelines are in line with the previously announced advisory issued by the City of Chicago. The state’s requirements include limiting in-home gatherings to household members, suspending indoor service at bars and restaurants, and a recommendation that all employees who can work remotely should do so.

Please refer to Provost Lee’s November 13 message for more information on how these advisories affect precautions at the University.

City of Chicago Emergency Travel Order

The City of Chicago updated its Emergency Travel Order on Tuesday, moving California, D.C., New Hampshire, and New York from category yellow to category orange (effective today). Idaho moved from red to orange. This means that a total of 11 states are classified as red, with another 37 states and territories classified as orange. As a reminder, travel to states marked red requires a 14-day quarantine period upon returning to Chicago; travel to states marked orange requires either a quarantine period or a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours before returning to Chicago.

Visit the city’s Emergency Travel Order for more information.

Holiday Travel and Socializing During Winter Months

This week the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that during the coming holiday period people should avoid travel when possible, particularly in areas with high rates of COVID-19, and not hold gatherings of individuals from different households, among other measures. You can find a summary of the CDC’s guidance on the UChicago Forward website.

As recently noted by Dr. Emily Landon, maintaining a small bubble of household contacts is critical to helping flatten the COVID-19 curve while also enabling socializing within the bubble. The City of Chicago’s executive order also states that gatherings in private residences cannot exceed six non-household members. We are asking anyone who does not follow the executive order and gathers with more than 6 people from outside your primary household during the Thanksgiving holiday to curtail your on-campus activity for one week following your gathering. Staff members in this situation should contact their manager to discuss arrangements.

Upholding Public Health Requirements

UCAIR is the University’s anonymous reporting system that can be used to report concerns about compliance with COVID-19 health requirements. UCAIR received 49 reports this week related to COVID-19 issues, for a total of 487 reports from September 20 through November 16. This included 4 reports on campus grounds, 16 off-campus, 12 in residence halls, 8 in non-lab research or other buildings, 7 in lab research buildings, 2 in dining halls, and 0 at the Medical Center. The reports reflected an almost even split between students and non-students. The most common themes continue to be small group gatherings without face coverings and social distancing. The University reviews new UCAIR reports daily and initiates interventions as appropriate.

November 13, 2020 Update

Dear Members of the UChicago Community,

In this edition of the UChicago Forward Weekly COVID-19 Update, you will find the latest COVID-19 data and additional guidance and restrictions from the city and state.

As always, you can find comprehensive information on the UChicago Forward website.

Latest Data

Overall Cases: As of today, the University has had a cumulative total of 269 reported cases of COVID-19 since September 18, including cases detected by surveillance testing as well as reports from members of the University community who were tested after experiencing symptoms or having potential exposure to COVID-19. This number includes reports received from people who have not been on campus or are working from home. Of 68 new cases identified overall in the last week, 36 are students and 32 are staff, faculty, or other personnel at the University. The Contact Tracing Team identified 53 close contacts this week – an average of about 0.78 contacts per positive case.

Surveillance Testing Data: From September 20 through November 11, the University processed 34,148 tests as part of the Mandatory and Voluntary Surveillance programs, with 66 positive results, for an overall positivity rate of 0.19%. The latest 7-day surveillance testing has found 18 positive cases, with a 7-day positivity rate of 0.30%. Surveillance testing is intended to find cases among asymptomatic individuals; as such, the positivity rate provides important information about the state of the virus on campus. Results for most tests have been available within 24 hours, exceeding the 48-hour target.

Isolation Update: As of today, 9 students are in on-campus isolation housing, with 29 students isolating off-campus. In all, 138 individuals have completed the isolation protocol since September 20. The UChicago Forward site has additional information on isolation for people who test positive for COVID-19. 

City and State Dashboards

The COVID-19 caseload has been increasing locally and nationwide in recent weeks. As of November 11, the City of Chicago has a 7-day positivity rate of 14.5%. Please visit the city’s COVID Dashboard for more information.  

As of November 9, Illinois Region 11, which includes Chicago, has a 7-day positivity rate of 13.9% Please visit the state’s regional statistics for more information.

New City and State Guidelines

This week, the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois issued new guidelines in light of the worsening pandemic situation in the city, state, and many parts of the country.

Yesterday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Commissioner of Health Dr. Allison Arwady issued an advisory stating that beginning on Monday, November 16, the City is advising all residents to stay at home as much as possible, and only leave the house for work, school, or other essential needs. You can find more information about the Stay at Home Advisory, which will remain in place for 30 days, on the city’s COVID-19 website.

Similarly, the Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday issued guidance that urges individuals to leave home only for “essential activities” over the next three weeks and to work from home as much as possible.

Please see Provost Lee’s message for the implications of these guidelines at the University.

Upholding Public Health Requirements

UCAIR is the University’s anonymous reporting system that can be used to report concerns about compliance with COVID-19 health requirements. UCAIR received 40 reports this week related to COVID-19 issues, for a total of 438 reports from September 20 through November 9. This included 11 reports on campus grounds, 11 off-campus, 4 in residence halls, 13 in non-lab research or other buildings, 1 in lab research buildings, 0 in dining halls, and 0 at the Medical Center. More reports came in this week from students than non-students. The most common themes continue to be small group gatherings without face coverings and social distancing. The University reviews new UCAIR reports daily and initiates interventions as appropriate.

November 6, 2020 Update

Dear Members of the UChicago Community,

In this edition of the UChicago Forward Weekly COVID-19 Update, you will find updates on the latest COVID-19 data, tips to safely celebrate Thanksgiving, and a reminder of the city’s travel restrictions.

As always, you can find comprehensive information on the UChicago Forward website.

Latest Data

Overall Cases: As of today, the University has had a cumulative total of 201 reported cases of COVID-19 since September 18, including cases detected by surveillance testing as well as reports from members of the University community who were tested after experiencing symptoms or having potential exposure to COVID-19. This number includes reports received from people who have not been on campus or are working from home. Of 32 new cases identified overall in the last week, 16staff, faculty, or other personnel at the University. While there are more cases among non-students than in past weeks, they appear to be sporadic, unrelated instances. The Contact Tracing Team identified 23– an average of about 0.72 contacts per positive case.

Surveillance Testing Data: From September 20 through November 4, the University processed 28,968 tests as part of the Mandatory and Voluntary Surveillance programs, with 49 positive results, for an overall positivity rate of 0.17%. The latest 7-day surveillance testing has found 4 positive cases, with a 7-day positivity rate of 0.07%. Surveillance testing is intended to find cases among asymptomatic individuals; as such, the positivity rate provides important information about the state of the virus on campus. Results for most tests have been available within 24 hours, exceeding the 48-hour target.

Isolation Update: As of today, fewer than 5 students are in on-campus isolation housing, with 19 students isolating off-campus. In all, 120 individuals have completed the isolation protocol since September 20. The UChicago Forward site has additional information on isolation for people who test positive for COVID-19. 

COVID-19 Dashboard

Tips to Safely Celebrate Thanksgiving

With the holidays approaching, some simple measures can improve the safety of family celebrations. Dr. Emily Landon, Executive Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control at UChicago Medicine, has provided recommendations and considerations to guide your preparations for travel and reconnecting with family. She addresses issues such as how to plan for trips during the pandemic, precautions to take for in-person celebrations, and things to discuss before a family get-together. Continuing to uphold the UChicago Health Pact can limit the spread of COVID-19 at home as well as on campus.

Symptomatic Testing

Testing is available for any member of the University campus community with potential COVID-19 symptoms, and anyone who has been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Visit UChicago Forward for more information on the Symptomatic Testing Program.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

The COVID-19 pandemic can produce feelings of separation, a lack of belonging, and grief for lost loved ones. The University’s Diversity & Inclusion Initiative has compiled a variety of student, faculty, staff and community resources that are available to help address a range of mental health and spiritual concerns. UChicago Student Wellness provides a range of

New Case Notifications

There have been questions about who is notified when a new case of COVID-19 is identified. The University’s Contact Tracing Team routinely notifies the appropriate dean of students, academic leader, work supervisor, or other appropriate medical personnel concerning new cases. A top priority in any such notification is to maintain the confidentiality of infected individuals, and to limit information about a patient’s identity to a small number of University personnel with oversight duties for the patient. More information is available on the COVID-19 Exposures page.

City of Chicago Emergency Travel Order and COVID Dashboard

The City of Chicago announced on Wednesday that no states were added or removed from its Emergency Travel Order, meaning that 31 states plus Puerto Rico remain on the list. Travelers coming to Chicago from these states are subject to a 14-day quarantine. Check the city’s Emergency Travel Order for more information and for a list of affected states.

For the latest information on COVID-19 cases in Chicago, please visit the city’s COVID Dashboard.

Upholding Public Health Requirements

UCAIR is the University’s anonymous reporting system that can be used to report concerns about compliance with COVID-19 health requirements. UCAIR received 38 reports this week related to COVID-19 issues, for a total of 398 reports from September 20 through November 2. This included 4 reports on campus grounds, 14 off-campus, 3 in residence halls, 7 in non-lab research or other buildings, 7 in lab research buildings, 2 in dining halls, and 1 at the Medical Center. The reports reflected an even split between students and non-students and multiple reports referred to a single incident/concern. The most common themes continue to be small group gatherings without face coverings and social distancing. The University reviews new UCAIR reports daily and initiates interventions as appropriate.

October 30, 2020 Update

Dear Members of the UChicago Community,

In this edition of the UChicago Forward Weekly COVID-19 Update, you will find updates on the latest COVID-19 data, information on Thanksgiving, and a summary of new state and city restrictions.

As always, you can find comprehensive information on the UChicago Forward website.

Latest Data

Overall Cases: As of today, the University has had a cumulative total of 169 reported cases of COVID-19 since September 18, including cases detected by surveillance testing as well as reports from members of the University community who were tested after experiencing symptoms or having potential exposure to COVID-19. This number includes reports received from people who have not been on campus or are working from home. Of 45 new cases identified overall in the last week, 37 are students and 8 are staff, faculty, or other personnel at the University. Most of the new student cases are off-campus and appear to be sporadic, unrelated instances. The Contact Tracing Team identified 59 close contacts this week – an average of about 1.3 contacts per positive case.

Surveillance Testing Data: From September 20 through October 28, the University has processed 24,400 tests as part of the Mandatory and Voluntary Surveillance programs, with 47 positive results, for an overall positivity rate of 0.19%. The latest 7-day surveillance testing has found 7 positive cases, with a 7-day positivity rate of 0.12%. Surveillance testing is intended to find cases among asymptomatic individuals; as such, the positivity rate provides important information about the state of the virus on campus. Results for most tests have been available within 24 hours, exceeding the 48-hour target.

Isolation Update: As of today, fewer than 5 students are in on-campus isolation housing, with 27 students isolating off-campus. In all, 95 individuals have completed the isolation protocol since September 20. The UChicago Forward site has additional information on isolation for people who test positive for COVID-19.  

COVID-19 Dashboard

COVID-19 Positive Cases at UChicago – Data from 9/20/20-10/28/20

Additional State Restrictions

In light of a significant increase of COVID-19 cases in the City of Chicago, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced earlier this week that beginning today, Friday, October 30, indoor service at bars and restaurants will be prohibited in Chicago, and outdoor dining must close at 11:00 p.m. The restrictions also include lowering the cap on gatherings from 50 people to 25. The State of Illinois confirmed that these restrictions do not apply to University classrooms or dining halls.

The City of Chicago on Tuesday expanded its Emergency Travel Order to include Florida, bringing the total number of states to 31 plus Puerto Rico. Starting today, travelers coming to Chicago from this state are subject to a 14-day quarantine. Check the city’s Emergency Travel Order for more information and for an updated list of affected states.

For the latest information on COVID-19 cases in Chicago, please visit the city’s COVID Dashboard.

Thanksgiving Break

Undergraduates who choose to travel and leave Chicago during Thanksgiving Break will not be allowed to return to on-campus housing and must complete the remainder of the quarter remotely. Students may choose to remain in their residence halls for Thanksgiving Break and the final weeks of the quarter, provided they do not leave the Chicago area or travel during this time. For more information, see the College’s FAQ page.

Avoiding COVID-19 Scams

Nationwide there have been recent scams asking people for personal login or financial information, purportedly as part of COVID-19 contact tracing. Please bear in mind that legitimate contact tracers will never ask for money, credit card or bank information, social security numbers, or immigration status. If you are contacted by the University’s Contact Tracing Team because you have tested positive or potentially were exposed to COVID-19, the first contact will always be from a UChicago email address. Talking to a real contact tracer helps stop the spread of COVID-19. Reporting fraud to security@uchicago.edu helps to stop scammers as well.

Upholding Public Health Requirements

UCAIR is the University’s anonymous reporting system that can be used to report concerns about compliance with COVID-19 health requirements. There were 35 new UCAIR reports related to COVID-19 health concerns in the latest week (365 total since September 20).  This included 10 reports on campus grounds, 7 off-campus, 3 in residence halls, 6 in non-lab research buildings, 4 in lab research buildings, 3 in dining halls, and 2 at the Medical Center. The reports reflected an almost even split between students and non-students. The most common themes continue to be small group gatherings without face coverings. The University reviews new UCAIR reports daily and initiates interventions as appropriate.

Weekly Reminder

As we enter flu season, please remember that anyone with flu-like symptoms should get tested immediately for COVID-19. Once we see evidence of flu activity in the area, tests for flu will be administered as well. You can also use UChicago’s C19 Symptom Checker.

Anyone with a University ID can sign up to get a free flu shot at the final flu shot clinic of the quarter on November 6-7 at the Student Wellness Center. Faculty and staff can find other options for getting a flu shot at the informational page; students who need to schedule a different time may call 773-834-WELL for an appointment.

Shout-Outs

Thank you to the new Student Building Assistants who have started working to further enhance COVID-19 safety on our Hyde Park campus. These student assistants visit buildings and locations across campus to review compliance with COVID-19 guidelines and help identify items that may need to be addressed, including missing signage, use of face coverings, and social distancing practices in given locations and times. They can also help people find their way in buildings being used for classes.

Did You Know?

Hanging out can let the virus in. Limit gatherings, particularly while indoors.

October 23, 2020 Update

Dear Members of the UChicago Community,

In this edition of the UChicago Forward Weekly COVID-19 Update, you will find updates on the lastest COVID-19 data, a look toward Winter Quarter, and a summary of new state and city restrictions.

As always, you can find comprehensive information on the UChicago Forward website.

Latest Data

Overall Surveillance Testing Data: From September 20 through October 21, the University has processed 19,701 tests as part of the Mandatory and Voluntary Surveillance programs, with 41 positive results, for an overall positivity rate of 0.21%.

There were 37 new COVID-19 cases identified in the last week, with 48 close contacts identified by our Contact Tracing Team.  These figures include reports received from members of the University community  who have not been on campus or are working from home. Of the new cases identified in the last week, 26 are students and 11 are staff, faculty, or other personnel at the University. As of today, fewer than five students are in on-campus isolation housing, with 24 students isolating off-campus. The UChicago Forward site has additional information on isolation for people who test positive for COVID-19.

Winter Quarter

The academic calendar and other details about Winter Quarter will be released soon. Thanks in large part to the sustained efforts of our entire campus community, to date we have had no known cases  of COVID-19 transmission linked to classrooms, with a low positivity rate among students in residence halls. We anticipate building on this approach for in-person instruction and on-campus housing during Winter Quarter.

Additional State and City Restrictions

In light of a significant increase of COVID-19 cases, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that beginning today, Friday October 23, a business curfew is in effect from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for all non-essential businesses in the city. Businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations are exempt from the curfew, and restaurants may continue operating for take-out or delivery. The mayor also emphasized that Chicagoans should avoid social gatherings of more than six people and end all social gatherings by 10:00 p.m.

In addition, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced this week that beginning today, indoor service at bars and restaurants will be prohibited in four of Chicago’s suburban counties – DuPage, Kane, Will and Kankakee. The restrictions also include lowering the cap on gatherings from 50 people to 25 in those counties. 

The City of Chicago on Tuesday expanded its Emergency Travel Order to include people traveling from Colorado, Ohio, Delaware, West Virginia, and Texas. Starting today, travelers coming to Chicago from these states are subject to a 14-day quarantine. Check the city’s Emergency Travel Order for more information and for an updated list of affected states.

Upholding Public Health Requirements

UCAIR is the University’s anonymous reporting system that can be used to report concerns about compliance with COVID-19 health requirements. UCAIR received 43 reports this week concerning COVID-19 issues, for a total of 336 reports since September 20. These reports are reviewed daily and shared with germane University officials, who initiate interventions where appropriate. 

Change in CDC “Close Contact” Definition

This week the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its definition of a “close contact,” which now includes anyone who has been within six feet of a person infected with COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. Previously, people were counted as close contacts only if they had a one-time exposure of 15 minutes or more. Our Contact Tracing Team is following the new guidance, which may result in the identification of more close contacts going forward. The CDC’s revised definition provides one more reason to follow public health requirements and maintain a distance of six feet or more.

Training and Attestation

Please remember that anyone returning to campus must complete COVID-19 safety training and the attestation form. University faculty, staff and other employees who have not completed this requirement by October 30 are subject to having their building access revoked after that date.

October 16, 2020 Update

Dear Members of the UChicago Community,

In this edition of the UChicago Forward Weekly COVID-19 Update, you will find updates on the lastest COVID-19 data, information about cases, and a reminder of the mandatory safety training and attestation.

As always, you can find comprehensive information on the UChicago Forward website.

Latest Data

Overall Surveillance Testing Data: From September 20 through October 14, the University has processed 14,855 tests as part of the Mandatory and Voluntary Surveillance programs, with 35 positive results, for an overall positivity rate of 0.24%.

There were 36 new COVID-19 cases identified in the last week, with 85 close contacts identified by our Contact Tracing Team.  These figures include reports received from members of the University community  who have not been on campus or are working from home. Of the new cases identified in the last week, 25 are students and 11 are staff, faculty, or other personnel at the University. As of today, fewer than five students are in on-campus isolation housing, with 30 students isolating off-campus. The UChicago Forward site has additional information on isolation for people who test positive for COVID-19.

Update on Chicago Booth

On Oct. 14, the Booth School of Business announced that it would hold classes remotely for two weeks as a precautionary measure, a result of a large off-campus gathering where MBA students were present. Testing this week found five positive results of COVID-19 among students from the Booth School, with 40 close contacts among other Booth students. Testing of additional close contacts is proceeding, and the University will continue to monitor the situation. (Although more than 100 students were connected with the gathering, a lower number met the CDC definition of a close contact with someone known to have COVID-19.) No other University classes have been affected by this cluster of cases.

Symptomatic Testing

If you have potential symptoms of COVID-19, it is imperative to stay home and get tested. The UChicago C19 Symptom Checker will help you check your symptoms and risk factors for the virus.

If you have been exposed to or test positive for COVID-19, promptly report to C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu, even if you have not been on campus.

Voluntary Surveillence Testing Program

This week roughly 1,500 additional people registered for weekly testing through the Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program. Those confirmed for the program will receive communications about their acceptance next week and will begin testing over the next few weeks.

Surveillence Testing Makeup Tests

If you are participating in the mandatory and voluntary surveillance testing programs and miss your testing appointment, you will need to attend a makeup appointment. Makeup testing is available on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at one of the two locations used for the University’s Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program:

  • Rosenwald Hall, 1101 E. 58th Street, Suite 100
  • 950 E. 61st Street (formerly known as the Woodlawn Social Services Center (WSSC), Room 3

Training and Attestation

Anyone returning to campus (students, faculty, other academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, and staff) is required to complete COVID-19 safety training and the attestation form. Access to buildings is prohibited for anyone who does not complete these requirements. The final deadline for University faculty, staff and other employees to complete this requirement is October 30; those who have not completed the requirements are subject to having their building access revoked after that date.

City of Chicago Emergency Travel Order

The City of Chicago on Tuesday expanded its Emergency Travel Order to include Indiana as well as Wisconsin. The order includes exceptions to the quarantine requirement for people who live in the states included in the travel order who must travel to Chicago for work or school.  It also includes an exception to the quarantine for Chicago residents who must travel to the travel order states for work or school. The City of Chicago also clarified that anyone who travels to travel order states (including Wisconsin or Indiana) for non-work purposes, even if for less than 24 hours, are required to quarantine for 14 days upon returning to Chicago. The order says that Chicago residents are “strongly advised” not to travel to these states.

Check the city’s Emergency Travel Order for more information and for an updated list of affected states.

Upholding Public Health Requirements

UCAIR is the University’s anonymous reporting system that can be used to report concerns about compliance with COVID-19 health requirements. UCAIR received 79 reports this week concerning COVID-19 issues, for a total of 247 reports since September 20.

Weekly Reminder

It’s important to socialize while maintaining discipline about the size of gatherings, indoors and out. The City of Chicago order stipulates that gatherings in residences cannot include more than six people who do not live there. Please help limit potential spread by keeping gatherings small, maintaining distance, and wearing a mask. For ideas about how students can socialize while upholding health and safety requirements, please refer to our Guidelines for Safe Socializing.

 

October 9, 2020 Update

Dear Members of UChicago Community,

In this edition of the UChicago Forward Weekly COVID-19 Update, you can find updates on the latest COVID-19 data, a new online tool for checking symptoms, information on new tent spaces, and other actions that our community is taking in response to the pandemic.

You can find comprehensive information on the UChicago Forward website.

Latest Data

Overall Surveillance Testing Data: From September 20 to October 8, the University has processed 9,965 tests as part of the Mandatory and Voluntary Surveillance programs, with 26 positive results, for an overall positivity rate of 0.26%.

Taking into account reports received from all members of the University community – including those who have not been on campus or are working from home – there have been 33 COVID-19 cases in the last week, with 32 close contacts identified and notified by our Contract Tracing Team. Of the new cases identified in the last week, 26 are students, and 7 are staff, faculty, or other employees of the University. As of today, 6 students are in on-campus isolation housing, with 21 students isolating off-campus. The UChicago Forward site has additional information on isolation for people who test positive for COVID-19.

COVID-19 DASHBOARD

*COVID-19 Positive Cases at UChicago – Data from 10/1/20-10/7/20

The University’s COVID-19 Dashboard – updated on a daily and weekly basis – has been updated to provide the ability to sort testing data.

First Week of In-Person Classes

Monday, October 5, marked the start of in-person instruction in the College and many graduate programs, with seating layouts, cleaning protocols, ventilation, and other operational specifications adjusted according to public health guidelines. Compliance with safety protocols has been good, based on feedback from instructors and from monitors who are spot-checking buildings and classrooms. Students need to be aware that they should wipe down their seat and desk both before and after use. Updated signage on this point will be deployed soon.           

Voluntary COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Program

Registration to enroll in the Voluntary COVID-19 Surveillance Testing Program will re-open on Monday, October 12, and will be available until 5 p.m. on Thursday, October 15, for those not already part of the University’s surveillance testing programs. Emails starting Monday will provide information on how to register. We encourage anyone in the University community who might be on campus during Autumn Quarter and is not already enrolled to register for this weekly testing program.

Symptom Checker

The UChicago C19 Symptom Checker is a new online tool designed to help you with your daily symptom check  and risk factors to see if your symptoms and risk factors indicate potential COVID-19 infection. The Checker is based on clinical best practices and CDC guidelines, and takes into account illness severity and risk factors such as age and pre-existing conditions. Anyone who finds they have symptoms should not go to their University destination and should consult their healthcare provider and inform their supervisor or academic leader. Students should call UChicago Student Wellness at 773.834.WELL. Others may call the UChicago Medicine COVID-19 triage hotline for screening, at 773.702.2800. 

All members of the University community are strongly encouraged to visit the site and familiarize themselves with the tool. Setting a daily reminder for yourself each morning is a good way to build the habit of using the Symptom Checker. It’s easy to use and entirely confidential.

City of Chicago Emergency Travel Order

The City of Chicago is expected to add Indiana to its quarantine list next week due to rising COVID-19 activity. If that happens:

  • UChicago students, faculty, other academic appointees, postdoctoral researchers, and staff who live in Indiana will be able to travel to and from the University for education, research, and work, and will be expected to limit their activities to those functions while in Chicago. The same approach already applies to people who live in Wisconsin and travel to and from the University for those purposes.

Additional information will be provided next week if and when Indiana is added to the quarantine list. Chicago’s list of quarantine states is updated each Tuesday, and changes go into effect on Friday. Check the city’s Emergency Travel Order web page for an updated list of affected states.

Upholding Public Health Requirements

As a reminder, UCAIR is the University’s anonymous reporting system that can be used to report concerns about compliance with COVID-19 health requirements. UCAIR received 79 reports this week concerning COVID-19 issues, for a total of 247 reports since September 20. The most common problems reported this week involved universal face coverings and social distancing.

For ideas about how students can socialize while upholding health and safety requirements, please refer to our Guidelines for Safe Socializing.

Off-Campus Cases

In the last week, our Contact Tracing Team and epidemiology specialists at UChicago Medicine identified five cases involving College students living together in one house off campus. As a result, all residents of the house have been directed to quarantine. Cooperation with all contact tracing efforts is critical in such cases to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Available Spaces

The University is completing installation of heated tents available in locations across campus. These tents will be used as alternative spaces for instruction, for limited outdoor seating for students to use for study space and dining, and for approved extracurricular convenings. You can find more information on how to reserve and use the tents on UChicago Forward.

The Library has begun welcoming limited numbers of faculty, students and staff back to library spaces. Registration is required for seating. Visit the Library website for more information.

October 2, 2020 Update

Dear Members of UChicago Community, 

Welcome to the first edition of the UChicago Forward Weekly COVID-19 Update. This message will inform the University community about the latest data and developments relevant to COVID-19 on our campus, and help reinforce public health precautions and other actions that our community is taking in response to the pandemic. For more information, please visit the UChicago Forward website.

Latest Data

All students living in on-campus housing have now moved in and begun weekly testing as part of the University’s Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program, and the Voluntary Surveillance Testing Program began this week. From September 20 through October 1 the University has processed 4,979 tests as part of these programs, with 9 positive results, for an overall positivity rate of 0.18%. All students who tested positive have been notified and residential students have been relocated to University isolation housing, with support from staff in UChicago Student Wellness and Housing and Residence Life.

In all, including others in the University community who have tested positive, there have been 14 COVID-19 cases in the last week, with 37 close contacts identified and notified by our Contact Tracing Team. These numbers include positive results identified through the surveillance testing programs and others who were tested because of symptoms or because they were recently in close contact with someone who tested positive. It also includes a number of people who have not been on campus or are working from home.

We must remain vigilant in following safety protocols, and not become complacent regardless of the number of cases. The University anticipated and was prepared for some new cases as some students tested positive upon arrival, which is why we instituted a 10-day stay-at-home directive for everyone in campus housing at the start of the quarter. Anyone arriving from a state on the City of Chicago’s Travel Quarantine List is required to complete a 14-day quarantine, leaving their housing only for medical visits. The UChicago Forward site has additional information on isolation and quarantine.

COVID-19 DASHBOARD

Today the University launched an expanded version of our COVID-19 Dashboard, which provides a range of data on the University’s COVID-19 surveillance testing program, updates on students in isolation, and the overall number of cases and close contacts. The Dashboard is updated on a daily and weekly basis.

Corrective Action

Everyone returning to campus must uphold the required training and attestation, as summarized in the UChicago Health Pact. While we do not want to be punitive in enforcing these requirements, some behavior requires swift action to help protect the health and safety of our community. This week, two students were removed from on-campus housing for the rest of Autumn Quarter for violations of University and City of Chicago public health requirements, and other students who have been in large groups outdoors while violating public health requirements have received final warnings.

Most members of the University community have been upholding public health requirements. This is essential for us to have a successful Autumn Quarter and we thank you for your efforts in this regard.

Upholding Public Health Requirements

UCAIR is the University anonymous reporting system that can be used to report concerns about compliance with COVID-19 health requirements. Since September 20, UCAIR has received 211 reports concerning COVID-19 issues; the most common problems reported were failure to observe six feet of social distancing, and failure to wear face coverings appropriately. Concerns have also been reported through UCAIR about gatherings of students in off-campus venues.

For people who are not currently under quarantine, being outside can be a good way to socialize safely. But it’s important to keep at least six feet from others, wear face coverings except when eating and drinking, and follow other public health requirements. The University has placed reminders about these requirements in a number of outside areas.

Cases Involving Harris School Students

The University’s Contact Tracing Team and colleagues at UChicago Medicine identified a small cluster of COVID-19 cases this week involving students at the Harris School of Public Policy. Although the interactions among students were all off-campus, and students were taking some COVID-19 precautions, the situation serves as a reminder to employ all of the practices we have identified to prevent the spread of the virus, which are described in the Health Pact. It also highlights the importance of self-quarantine and testing for anyone with symptoms of COVID-19.  Anyone with a confirmed COVID-19 case, symptoms or exposure should promptly self-report to C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu, even if you have not been on campus.

Weekly Reminder

Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others whenever possible. Visit the UChicago Health Pact.

Shout-Outs

As we begin the campus testing programs, the new UChicago Contact Tracing Team has quickly determined whether students with positive test results had any close contacts who also needed to be tested. Please remember that a contact tracer’s job is critical to public health and that their work is in support of the entire University community; it is not meant to cast blame or lead to disciplinary action.  Cooperation with the process is critical to preventing spread of the virus. Thank you to the team, and to everyone who has helped them do their vital work.

Did You Know?

A sneeze can travel up to 65 mph. Wear a face covering.

If you have been exposed to or test positive for COVID-19, promptly report to C19HealthReport@uchicago.edu, even if you have not been on campus.