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UConn reinstates mask mandate as COVID-19 cases rise in Connecticut – Hartford Courant



UConn is reinstating mask mandates in most settings for the remainder of the semester and final exams at the Storrs and regional campuses amid a “substantial” rise in COVID-19 positivity rates, the university announced Friday.

Beginning Monday, masks will be required at all times inside classrooms and other instructional settings, like labs, studios and clinics. Masks will also be required inside workspaces, and at indoor events exceeding 100 people.

The reinstatement of mandates comes during a rise in cases anticipated by infectious disease experts amid the relaxation of mitigation measures like masks and required testing combined with the transmissibility of the BA.2 omicron subvariant.

UConn’s indoor mask mandates were relaxed in March, and dropped inside classrooms at the beginning of April.

The statewide COVID-19 positivity rate at the time floated around 2.5%, but the seven-day average has now climbed to 6.51%, according to to Gov. Ned Lamont’s office on Friday.

Hospitalizations, now one of the most closely watched metrics as testing declines, are also up. There are 161 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 44 of whom were hospitalized in the last week.

At UConn, there were about 150 COVID-19 cases reported both on and off campus in the latest seven-day reporting period, UConn said. Fifty-nine isolation beds are in use at the Storrs campus, according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard.

In a letter to the UConn community, UConn officials wrote the goal of the decision “is to protect health on our campuses and to help ensure that the remaining weeks of the semester and UConn’s commencement ceremonies can be conducted in-person.”

“A widespread outbreak that overwhelms university health services and available isolation space could potentially disrupt both,” the letter reads.

Seamus McAvoy may be reached at smcavoy@courant.com



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