56 positive COVID-19 tests reported by MIT Medical in past week

CDC recommends that all individuals 18 and older receive a booster vaccine

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The rate of positive COVID-19 tests in the past seven days is MIT’s highest this semester.
Arun Wongprommoon–The Tech

As of 10:30 p.m. ET Dec. 1, MIT Medical has reported 56 positive COVID-19 tests out of 21,080 total tests in the past seven days (Nov. 25 to Dec. 1) for a positivity rate of 0.27%. 

While lower than the Cambridge 14-day average of 0.40% and the Massachusetts 7-day average of 3.72%, the percent of positive cases is higher than any weekly average previously recorded by MIT Medical during Fall 2021. The next highest percent was 0.16% from Nov. 14 to Nov. 20, during which 55 positive tests (out of 33,728) were recorded, including 7 undergraduate and 23 graduate students.

Of the 56 positive cases recorded between Nov. 25 and Dec. 1, 21 are students, 29 are employees, and six are affiliates. 81 members of the MIT community are currently in isolation.

The month of November saw the most positive COVID-19 tests at MIT (184 out of 132,743 tests) this semester, compared to 77 (out of 140,111) in October and 118 (out of 142,267) in September.

In a Nov. 17 email to the MIT community, MIT Medical Director Cecilia Stuopis ’90 wrote that in 2020, “MIT saw its highest rates of COVID-19 cases between Thanksgiving and Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” likely a result of the cold weather causing people to gather indoors more frequently and to remove their face coverings.

Stuopis wrote that currently, with many community members traveling and spending time with family and friends, MIT Medical expects more cases and advises avoiding crowds, wearing multiple face coverings while traveling, and eating outdoors when possible.

As of Nov. 29, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance states that everyone over the age of 18 should receive a booster vaccine for COVID-19. Previously, only individuals over the age of 50 were strongly recommended to receive a booster.

The adjusted guidance may be in response to increased risk of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, which was first classified Nov. 26. The first confirmed case of the Omicron variant in the U.S. was reported in California, according to a Dec. 1 statement from the CDC. The Omicron variant may spread more quickly than other variants, such as the Delta variant, currently the predominant strain of COVID-19 in the U.S.

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a booster vaccine has been made available to all individuals 18 and older who are fully vaccinated (at least 6 months after their second Pfizer or Moderna dose or at least 2 months after their Johnson & Johnson dose). MIT Medical is not currently providing booster vaccines.

MIT Medical continues to require community members to wear face coverings while indoors and abide by a once or twice weekly testing cadence to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on campus.