UNF COVID cases surge as students return

Nathan Turoff, Features Editor

For any students hoping for a completely COVID-free experience on-campus this semester, it would seem things are not shaping up to be that way. UNF has seen a massive increase in COVID cases as students have returned to campus for the Spring Semester.

 UNF official COVID cases for the first week of January 2022, courtesy of UNF Emergency Management

A total of 44 students and 34 employees tested positive for COVID-19 over the past week. This is the highest number of confirmed COVID cases among students since the start of the Spring 2021 Semester an entire year ago, surpassing the peak number of cases that occurred in any given week during the Fall semester.

 The highest surge in cases during the Fall 2021 semester, courtesy of UNF Emergency Management

Even more alarming is the fact that 36 of those 44 student cases were on-campus students. Most of the large spikes in cases have previously been largely off-campus students, but the exact opposite is seen here. While the total number of student cases may be lower than the current record holder from last year, this week has seen the largest number of confirmed cases among on-campus students since the start of the pandemic. This record was previously held by the aforementioned first week of the Spring 2021 Semester.

 UNF’s COVID cases during the first weeks of the 2021 Spring Semester, courtesy of UNF Emergency Management

While there are more on-campus cases this week than the same time last year, it is only 36 cases compared to 33 last year, which are very similar to one other. Similar spikes have occurred at the start of every semester since the pandemic began, so it may be easy to brush this off. However, there is one alarming thing that sets this week apart from any other week of the pandemic.

Apart from the fact that this is the largest number of confirmed COVID cases overall, with 78 total cases compared to 63 during the same week increase last year, there is one more thing that vastly separates this week from the previous spikes, and that is the employee cases. 

The previous week record for most employee cases was, again, the same week last semester, with 15 cases. This week however, the number of cases among employees shattered that record by over 200 percent, to a total of 34 employee cases. For comparison, the highest number of COVID cases among employees over the course of a month was only 33. In other words, more employees have contracted COVID in just this week than over the course of an entire month since the start of the pandemic.

These trends are incredibly alarming, and Spinnaker will reach out to UNF administration and faculty for their thoughts on these dangerous numbers.

The official log of UNF COVID cases can be found here.

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