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Monday, November 29, 2021

UF surpasses 5,000 total COVID-19 cases, among the highest reported in the country

UF COVID-19 tracking

UF is rising in ranks, but not in the way it intends. UF surpassed 5,000 total COVID-19 cases Wednesday and now has the second highest case total of the country’s universities.

The No. 6 U.S. News and World Reports public university is No. 2 on the The New York Times university COVID-19 dashboard. Clemson University reports the most, with 5,187 cases since June 5, according to its dashboard’s last update on Nov. 19. 

UF’s dashboard reports cases since March 18. UF has had 5,185 COVID-19 cases, according to its dashboard as of Tuesday morning.

UF reports a 2% positivity rate within the last week, while Clemson reports a 1.3% positivity rate; this statistic gives a clearer indication of current case trends.

Comparing universities based on case totals isn’t fully accurate because schools have different methods of testing and reporting cases. For example, Clemson expanded its testing capabilities in early October to provide weekly mandatory testing for students, while UF’s testing has been voluntary this semester.

UF announced biweekly mandatory testing for the Spring for students in in-person classes, Greek life and those living on campus. Voluntary testing will still be available for employees and students who don’t fall into any of those categories.

Other universities’ dashboards don’t all report data from as long ago as UF’s. Florida State University reported 1,779 total cases among students and staff as of Tuesday and a weekly positivity rate of 1.36%, but its dashboard reports data since Aug. 2.

While UF’s dashboard reaches farther back, the majority of its 5,000 cases have occurred this semester — about 4,200 of them since Aug. 31, the first day of the semester.

Out of every state, Florida has had the second highest number of COVID-19 cases across its 115 universities — about 16,000. Texas has had the most with over 26,000 cases among 84 of its universities, according to the New York Times.

Alachua County has had over 5,400 positive cases among 15- to- 24-year-olds — 44% of its total cases, a high percentage which is likely attributable to the county’s student population. 

In this age range, 33 people have been hospitalized and none have died, according to the Florida Department of Health’s report for the county. 

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Behind California and Texas, Florida has the third highest number of total cases out of any state, with more than 900,000. Florida’s cases have been surging since mid-October, with cases rising by 53% within the past two weeks, and the most recent seven-day average was over 6,000 cases a day.

“We continue to refine and adjust as necessary as seen in our plans to implement mandatory testing for the spring semester,” a statement from UF read regarding its high case number.

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