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Stanford reports 18 new COVID-19 cases, a mild uptick from last week

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The University reported nine new student COVID-19 cases and nine new faculty, staff and postdoc cases for the week of Feb. 2 — a mild uptick from the previous week’s 15 combined new cases — according to its COVID dashboard.

The dashboard stated contract tracing indicated that at least one student and three employee cases were likely a result of community spread on campus, in contrast to previous weeks’ messaging which stated that contact tracing observations did “not provide evidence of on-campus community spread.”

Asked to provide a breakdown of the distribution of cases between undergraduates and students at Stanford’s graduate schools, the University did not immediately respond to The Daily’s request for comment.

Stanford conducted over 10,000 student surveillance tests in a week for the first time, with 11,520 tests — an increase of 1,640 from the previous week.  The number of tests conducted among faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars remained similar to last week’s total, with approximately 7,800 tests conducted.

The small uptick in cases on campus comes amid loosening COVID-19 restrictions in Santa Clara county and reports of prohibited gatherings and rule-breaking on campus, specifically within Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

The dashboard provided no additional information regarding clusters of cases, and it is unclear whether more cases appeared among athletes, graduate business students or other groups, which the University has specified in the past. University spokesperson E.J. Miranda wrote last week that the University “does not discuss specific cases for privacy reasons” in an email to The Daily.

Since last week, 14 positive cases were added to the total number of confirmed positive cases among faculty, staff and postdocs, according to the dashboard. 12 of the 14 had been on campus within two weeks of their diagnosis. Asked if Stanford believes any of these 12 cases may have contributed to community spread, a spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Daily’s request for comment.

Last Tuesday, Stanford officially allowed undergraduate students to begin forming households of up to eight students. Members of a household can gather unmasked indoors in dorms (but not common areas or dining halls) and gather outdoors with masks. Given the lag in testing reporting, it is unclear if the introduction of households has had an impact on campus’ testing positivity rate.

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Sam Catania ’24 is a Staff Writer at The Daily. He is a Philadelphia native currently studying computer science and political science. You can follow him on Twitter @sbcatania. Contact him at scatania 'at' stanforddaily.com