Vanderbilt reports 110 COVID-19 cases following Nov. 7 email on election-related gatherings

The university had an overall test positivity rate of 1.66 percent from Nov. 2 to Nov. 8.

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Hallie Williams

Vanderbilt University Medical Center North, photographed on Oct. 16, 2020. (Hustler Multimedia/Hallie Williams)

Avery Muir, Managing Editor

Vanderbilt reported 110 positive COVID-19 cases out of 6,613 total tests, resulting in a test positivity rate of 1.66 percent from Nov. 2 to Nov. 8. 

This last week is the highest weekly case count this semester, following two weeks of elevated positive test results compared to earlier in the semester. One hundred cases were reported during the week of Oct. 19 to Oct. 25, which had previously been the highest weekly case count, per the university dashboard.

The 110 cases were announced after the university sent students an email on Nov. 7 stating there has been a rise in COVID-19 cases due to election-related gatherings where there was a lack of mask wearing and physical distancing. 

“As you continue discussions regarding the election, please be sure to follow the university’s gathering policies–no gatherings in residence hall rooms, no gatherings over 10 people, and proper mask-wearing and physical-distancing should be practiced at all times,” the email reads. 

In their Nov. 2 Return to Campus update, the university said that while the Vanderbilt community had flattened the positive case curve between the week of Oct.19-Oct. 25 and Oct. 26-Nov. 1, “the university continues to see positive cases.” The update also noted a “concerning” rise in positive cases in the general Nashville population and emphasized the need for students to observe COVID safety protocols in personal situations both on- and off-campus. 

As of publication, Davidson County listed their 7-Day Positive Test Rate as satisfactory on their dashboard. The county had an 8.4 percent positive test rate between Nov. 2 and Nov. 9.

Before residential dorms close on Nov. 22, all undergraduates must undergo mandatory asymptomatic exit testing. The exit testing began for all undergraduate students on Nov. 8 and will continue through Nov. 10, per an email the VU Command Center Testing team sent to students Nov. 2. The university is also offering optional testing on a sign-up basis from Nov. 16 to Nov. 18.