ITHACA, N.Y.—Cornell University has announced that a large new batch of positive COVID-19 tests were recorded Friday and Saturday, yielding at least 300 positive cases. Processing is still in progress, meaning the final tally could be higher.
There were already 105 active student cases on Thursday, so that number will likely skyrocket when Cornell updates its COVID dashboard to reflect the new flood of positive tests. There were 120 positive tests recorded on Wednesday and Thursday, combined.
Earlier Saturday, the Tompkins County Health Department acknowledged two cases of the Omicron variant, and Cornell’s statement indicates that those cases are among their campus community.
Final exams are still being held in-person (though at 50 percent classroom capacity), with the school restating that there isn’t evidence of classroom transmission. However, the school has canceled all in-person student gatherings, “formal or informal.” The full announcement can be read here.
“Testing from Friday and Saturday, which is still in the process of being finalized, has already identified nearly 300 additional student cases on the Ithaca campus,” wrote Cornell officials. “In addition, we have now confirmed cases of the Omicron variant within our Cornell community. The vast majority of cases are linked to off-campus student social gatherings where masking and other public health measures were not followed. Being vaccinated, even with a booster shot, is not a license to let down our guards. Students testing positive for COVID-19 now, and in coming days, risk being required to isolate, away from family and friends, during the upcoming winter break.”
Students are also asked to leave campus as soon as their final exams are finished in order to avoid risk of COVID-19 exposure, which could prevent or delay them from going home for the holidays.