Data published on the Durham University website shows that there has been a significant reduction in Covid-19 cases at Durham University in the past two weeks.
Since the 26th October, there have been 162 reported cases of Covid-19 at Durham University, with five of those cases being among staff members. This includes those who tested positive in the Lateral Flow Testing (LFT) pilot.
In the past week, since 2nd November, there has been just 51 reported cases of Covid-19 at the University, with four of the cases coming from staff members.
This brings the total number of reported Covid-19 cases at Durham University to 1,965.
The seven day average declined rapidly from 25th October to 28th October, dropping from 44 cases to 18 cases. Since 28th October, the seven day average has declined steadily from 18 to just 6 cases per week.
Palatinate previously reported that as of 22nd October, 377 cases of Covid-19 had been reported to Durham University within a week, meaning 1,745 cases of Covid-19 had been reported to the University in total, which amounts to around 7.5% of students and staff at Durham.
This meant that Durham had the highest number of cases as a percentage of staff and students, as well as the fifth highest number of total Covid-19 cases of all UK universities, according to data compiled by the University and College Union (UCU). Durham City was also identified as a Covid-19 hotspot by The Chronicle.
The reduction in cases comes as student and staff participation in a Covid-19 testing pilot began on the 29th October. The Lateral Flow Test (LFT) pilot aims to reduce the spread of Covid-19 at the University by identifying people who are unaware that they have been infected with the virus, and enabling them to self isolate and book an NHS test.
Livers-in at Stephenson and Van Mildert College have been invited to take part in the pilot, and it has been rolled out to livers-in at University College.
Durham University saw high numbers of Covid-19 cases at its colleges. All students living in at St Mary’s and Collingwood were told to stay on campus for seven days, following an increased number of Covid-19 cases, and by mid-October, at least 38 out of the 42 households households at Collingwood College were in isolation, and all first-year students living at Hatfield College were in self-isolation.
Since then, many college bars have opened to livers-in at colleges, and in some cases, to students living out of college. However, all college bars have now closed due to the recently imposed national lockdown which requires all non-essential business to close for a month. This has also meant that all in-person music and theatre activities between households at the University have been suspended.
Despite the tough restrictions elsewhere, the University will continue to deliver face to face teaching throughout lockdown, and University libraries will remain open, although library-users are now required to wear a face covering at all times when using the library to allow access to the library to continue throughout the winter lockdown.
Image: Amana Moore