COVID-19 cases reported at Northwestern University increased to 51 this week.

That compares to 41 in the week ending Jan. 7 and just 17 during the holiday break, in the week ending Dec. 31.

The cases this week affected 32 undergraduate students, 11 other students and seven staff members and one faculty member.

The school says that over the seven-day period ending Thursday it conducted 9,833 tests for the disease, up from 3,624 in the previous period. The positive rate this week was 0.51% compared to 1.1% the week before.

NU says it has conducted a total of 89,246 tests since Aug 20.

First- and second-year undergraduate students were permitted to return to the NU campus for Winter quarter after having been asked to study from home in the Fall.

Classes began Monday for undergraduate students, but all classes were held remotely during the first week.

The COVID cases reported by the university are included in the City of Evanston’s case counts if, and only if, the person involved lives in Evanston.

To look at the data another way, NU, with about 30,800 students, faculty and staff, had 16.6 cases per 10,000 population in the most recent period, compared to a rate of 13.3 the previous week.

Evanston during the same period had 157 cases among its 75,000 residents, or 20.9 cases per 10,000 population, compared to a rate of 19.9 the previous week.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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