Stanford reports 15 new COVID-19 cases, lowest case count since late December

Feb. 2, 2021, 10:59 p.m.

The University reported seven new COVID-19 cases in students and eight in faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars for the week of Jan. 25, the lowest case counts since the week of Dec. 21, 2020, when only seven total cases were reported. 

Of the students who tested positive, six are currently in on-campus isolation. Positive cases can also be in isolation off campus, according to University spokesperson E.J. Miranda. 

Thirteen positive cases have been added to the “total confirmed positive cases” for faculty, staff and postdocs. However, only eight of these cases are considered part of the University’s testing count because the other five tested positive through providers not facilitated by the Stanford Occupational Health Center (OHC).

Of the 13 positive employee cases, nine were last on campus within two weeks of their diagnosis. It is unclear whether these employees were infectious during this period. When asked if the nine employees came into contact with any students or other employees, Miranda wrote that the University “does not discuss specific cases for privacy reasons” in an email to The Daily. 

The University “identifies and promptly contacts” individuals who had “close contact” with someone who tested positive and notifies all employees working in the same building, according to Miranda. 

For the past two weeks, the University has reiterated that their contact tracing and other observations “do not provide evidence of on-campus community spread.” 

This fall in campus case counts comes as a novel COVID-19 variant, 452R, has been linked to several large outbreaks in Santa Clara county. The 452R variant is distinct from the strain that has been spreading in the United Kingdom. Its prevalence, severity of illness and effects on vaccine efficacy are unknown, though some researchers are concerned the variant may be more transmissible. 

Last week, Santa Clara County loosened restrictions after California lifted its statewide stay-at-home order, allowing outdoor classrooms and specialized indoor classrooms like labs and studios to be used with precautionary measures. 

Starting Tuesday, the University will start a process allowing registered households of up to eight students to gather indoors without face coverings and to hold outdoor gatherings with face coverings. However, household members are not allowed to gather in common areas or dining halls and are expected to comply with physical distancing guidelines when in the same space as another household. 

Contact Denise Hui Jean Lee at deniselj ‘at’

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