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Stanford reports 26 new COVID-19 cases, a decline from spike last week

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The University reported 13 new student COVID-19 cases and 13 new faculty, staff and postdocs cases for the week of Jan. 11 — a drop from the previous week’s 82 combined new cases — on its COVID dashboard.

Still, the week marked the second-highest number of cases within Stanford since the beginning of the pandemic. The record was set the week of Jan. 4, when the new total was around four times any previous week.

The new cases come amid a surge in the COVID-19 both in Santa Clara County and nationwide, and as Stanford welcomes undergraduates with special circumstances and graduate students to campus for winter quarter. The University recently reversed plans for frosh and sophomores to return due to worsening conditions.

The University also added 24 positive cases from previous weeks to the staff, faculty and postdoc running total. According to the dashboard and health alert updates, there is no information regarding clusters of these cases and it is unclear whether more cases appeared among athletes, business school students or other groups as they have in the past.

A University spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment asking if new cases resulted from community spread.

Six of the infected students are in isolation. Regular at-least-weekly surveillance testing is required per the program’s policy.

Of the additional 24 positive cases in faculty, staff and postdocs that have been added to previous week totals, 19 were recorded as being “on campus” within the last 14 days.

Stanford dropped messaging from the COVID-19 dashboard that they do not see evidence that new cases are linked to community spread, but did not specify if they had contact-tracing evidence that community spread was occurring.

The Bay Area has now registered cases of a more contagious variant of COVID-19, over which experts have recently expressed concern, during a time when 6% of intensive care unit (ICU) beds are available as of Friday. The region is currently subject to a Stay Home Order and will be so until ICU capacity climbs to 15%.

Santa Clara County has been an “epicenter” in the nation for cases, with over 100,000 cases thus far and an overall positivity rate of 4.75%. As of now, the University still plans to bring back juniors and seniors for spring quarter.

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Sam Catania ’24 is the Chief Technology Officer at The Daily. He also is the producer of the weekly video roundup and formerly served as a news beat reporter covering COVID-19 on Stanford's campus and the assessment team leader of The Daily's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) team. Sam 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
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Matthew Turk ’24 is a desk editor for The Stanford Daily. He leads the mobile app development team as well and expects to major in computer science. Matthew has participated in several technical and financial internship programs. From January to May 2021, he worked with the frontend development team at Blocklight Analytics in his hometown of Chicago and was the engineering fellow at The Texas Tribune this past summer. His debut novel, An Invincible Summer, went on sale in stores in February. Ask Matthew about astrophysics, football and the automotive industry. Contact him at mturk ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.