Positive rates on campus decrease

Photo of a sign saying "attention" do not congregate.
USC’s community positivity rate last week was about 5%. (Simon Park | Daily Trojan file photo)

Coronavirus positivity rates hit approximately 5% last week with approximately 2,000 new cases in the USC community, a USC spokesperson wrote in an email to the Daily Trojan Tuesday. The new positivity rate is a significant decrease from a 10.3% positivity rate for tests administered between Jan. 9 and Jan. 15 and an even bigger drop from between Jan. 2 and Jan. 8, when positivity rates were 14.79% and 12.48% for students and faculty, respectively.

Student Health anticipates cases to plateau or potentially increase slightly this week, then begin to drop sharply next week, the University confirmed to the Daily Trojan.

Booster rates increased, with 58% of USC students fully vaccinated and boosted. This marks a nearly 10% point increase from last week when 50% of eligible students were fully boosted and a 25% point increase from Jan. 3, when 23% of students were boosted. Students must upload their booster shots by Jan. 31. 

USC students who live on campus and test positive are transported to one of three hotels where they quarantine free of charge. The three hotels currently hosting USC students include the USC Hotel, the Hyatt House L.A. — University Medical Center and DoubleTree Hilton.

As the number of people in need of isolation increases, the University is working to reserve more rooms within the hotels, Chief Health Officer Dr. Sarah Van Orman said during a student health briefing Jan. 19. 

USC is also developing plans for when staff and faculty test positive and are unable to come to work and to combat understaffing issues, the University wrote in a statement to the Daily Trojan Wednesday. 

There is “a robust business continuity program requiring all schools and departments to have plans with strategies to address situations when there are impacts to staffing, facilities and technology,” the statement read.

Currently closed due to staffing shortages, the USC Pharmacy in the Student Union is redirecting students to the USC Health Center Pharmacy and the Lyon Center for vaccine appointments.