Harvard's Covid-19 case count has surged to its highest point since the start of the pandemic over the last week, sending hundreds of affiliates into isolation while students begin to depart for winter break.
While Harvard University Health Services is not yet offering Covid-19 booster shots, students and other Harvard affiliates said they have secured booster shots from local pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens.
Harvard’s Counseling and Mental Health Services has witnessed an influx of students seeking mental health resources since they returned to campus this fall.
Harvard will not make Covid-19 booster shots mandatory anytime soon, University Health Services Executive Director Giang T. Nguyen said in a Thursday interview.
Though Covid-19 case counts on campus remain low, the sounds of coughs and sneezes resound through classes across campus as undergraduates fight off an array of respiratory infections.
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Harvard decreased the testing cadence for vaccinated affiliates in undergraduate housing on Monday in response to a decrease in positive Covid-19 tests among undergraduate students.
In an email to all MBA students on Thursday, four HBS administrators wrote that the school has counted 121 cases among MBA students since July 1, with close to 60 students in isolation that day. First-year students made up roughly 75 percent of those positive cases.
The positivity rate for Covid-19 on Harvard’s campus dropped to 0.16 percent over the past week, and the University said it has yet to identify a positive case caused by transmission in the classroom.
Harvard affiliates will become eligible for free seasonal flu shots at Cambridge Public Health Department clinics available to all city residents in a month.
When Harvard brought a limited number of undergraduate students back to campus in fall 2020, it promised a robust, in-house contact tracing system would limit exposures to the coronavirus and that comfortable accommodations would be provided for those who needed to isolate after testing positive.
As Harvard embarks on a return to in-person learning and on-campus living, the University has adjusted Covid-19 safety protocols for its vaccinated and larger student population.
The University will continue to require masks indoors regardless of vaccination status as the Delta variant has driven a nationwide rise in coronavirus cases, Harvard University Health Services Director Giang T. Nguyen wrote in an email to Harvard affiliates on Wednesday.
Harvard University Health Services Director Giang T. Nguyen said in a Thursday interview the University waited until doses were readily accessible across the country before joining other Boston-area colleges in mandating Covid-19 vaccinations for students before returning to campus in the fall.
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Harvard students were among the hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents to receive the Covid-19 vaccine this week when eligibility opened to all those 16 years and older on Monday.
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