Emory University will shift from the green operating condition to a “modified” yellow condition effective immediately, according to a Sept. 2 email from Executive Director for COVID-19 Response and Recovery Amir St. Clair.
The shift was attributed to the campuswide increase in COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant, St. Clair wrote.
As of Sept. 2, 147 students and faculty have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days, the University’s COVID-19 dashboard reports. The campus test positivity rate for students has increased to 3.24% from over 1% on Aug. 30. Of the individuals with positive screening tests since Aug. 23, 70% have been vaccinated, according to St. Clair, adding that those fully vaccinated are showing mild or no symptoms.
About 95% of students and 91% of faculty and staff are fully vaccinated as of Sept. 2.
On Aug. 31, 34 students received positive COVID-19 test results, the largest single day increase in positive tests since Feb. 17, when 51 students contracted the virus. The earlier spike triggered the University to implement a twice-weekly screening test policy for on-campus students.
Last week, the University administered 2,076 screening tests, roughly 14% of their 15,000 weekly testing capacity.
The email stated that off-campus transmission remains the chief source of infection, adding that no classroom transmission has been reported.
Masking is now encouraged outdoors regardless of vaccination status, a change from the green operating condition guidelines that only required indoor masking. Outdoor dining is also recommended, but not required under the conditions.
Access to the Oxford Dining Hall and Dobbs Common Table will be restricted to students who have meal plans and take out service will be available at the DCT starting Sept. 3, according to a Sept. 2 email from Director of Campus Dining Chad Sunstein.
It is also recommended that non-academic indoor gatherings of more than 250 individuals be moved outdoors if possible. Indoor gatherings are also restricted from offering food or drinks, and eating and drinking in classrooms remains prohibited.
Operational changes to fitness centers on campus will be updated on their respective websites, the email shared.
Cases have also been rising in Georgia and DeKalb County, with a 32% and 6% increase in cases over the past two weeks, respectively. Nationwide cases have increased by 14% over the past two weeks.
Update (9/2/2021 at 4:00 p.m.): The story has been updated to include the vaccination figures of those who tested positive through University screening tests.