The Wheel publishes updates every Saturday about coronavirus spread within the Emory community, the University’s COVID-19 testing strategy and other related information. The Wheel also tracks on campus cases daily, which can be viewed on our homepage.

Cases increase following Halloween gatherings

The University recorded 23 new cases this week, the highest total yet recorded. Fifteen of these cases were students, with eight off campus, two at Woodruff Residential Center and one each at Raoul Hall, Haygood Hall, Evans Hall, Complex and Clairmont Residential Center. Three cases were faculty: two off campus and one at the O. Wayne Rollins Research Center. The remaining five cases were staff, with two off campus, one at Emory University Hospital, one at Facilities Management and one at the Grace Crum Rollins Building.

The increase in cases this week is most likely associated with students attending gatherings or off-campus events over the weekend, Executive Director of Emory Student Health Services Sharon Rabinovitz said. The uptick from Halloween could last up to a month “due to the secondary and tertiary transmission.”

“It extends that period where we see the increased numbers of cases,” she continued.

Part of this increase may also be due to increased cases across Atlanta and the state. Emory cases have been increasing over the past month as the U.S. continues to hit record daily case totals.

“Over the past three weeks, we’ve had a steady increase as compared to other months, which is mirroring community spread for DeKalb County,” Rabinovitz said.

Dorms open to non-residents

As of Nov. 3, students living on campus can enter the lobbies of residence halls other than the one they live in. Previously, students were not allowed to visit other halls in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between buildings.

Rabinovitz said the change was made with students’ mental health in mind.

“It’s a challenging time, and we felt that the benefit of opening up the residence halls outweighed the risk,” she said.

Testing for international students

For international students planning to leave the U.S. after the semester ends, many will have to time their last COVID-19 test within a particular window before departure to ensure they comply with regulations to reenter their home country. The window varies by country but usually ranges from “48 hours to a week,” Rabinovitz said.

Students who need to schedule their testing in this way should send a message to the “COVID Assessment Provider” in their Student Health patient portal so that Student Health can ensure they receive a test at the appropriate time.