COVID-19 update: Booster protects against omicron

Martha Sanchez, Staff Reporter

Cecilia Hammond

As of Dec. 8, Tulane University completed 72,618 COVID-19 tests during the fall semester, 335 of which were positive. Tulane has a seven-day 0.7% testing positive rate, the same as Orleans Parish. Louisiana reported a positivity rate of 1.7%. 

Tulane administered over 2,000 tests Tuesday after sending compliance notices to ensure students completed return-to-campus testing following Thanksgiving break. Thirteen tested positive — the most in one day since Aug. 28. Tuesday’s positivity rate was 0.6%. 

Tulane confirmed the first community case of the omicron variant in a graduate student on Dec. 6. Tulane increased COVID-19 testing in response but remains in a mask-optional status. 

Pfizer announced Wednesday that their booster shot offers protection against the Omicron variant, but two doses alone may not fully protect against infection. Scientists said these findings were encouraging but warned against making definite conclusions until more is known. 

Evidence — such as shorter hospital stays and less oxygen needs — suggest that omicron might cause less severe infection, but it will take months to fully understand its threats. 

Tulane currently has 29 active cases — 20 students and nine employees. Throughout the semester, 202 students and 133 employees have tested positive. The percentage of all positive tests this semester is 0.5%. 

Booster shots are available at Tulane vaccine clinics for anyone over 18 who received their second dose at least six months ago. Appointments are required. 

Tulane and New Orleans remain in modified phase three protocols. Masks must be worn indoors at all times for unvaccinated individuals over age two and in healthcare facilities, public transportation and early childhood and K-12 institutions. 

Proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test are required for all indoor events. 

Tulane has a vaccination rate of 95% for students and faculty. 

If you have tested positive or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, please complete the COVID-19 reporting form. Students are not permitted to self-quarantine unless they have spoken with a Tulane contact tracer.

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