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Dozens of Duke students incorrectly told they had COVID-19

Posted January 10, 2022 10:39 a.m. EST
Updated January 10, 2022 11:48 a.m. EST

— Dozens of Duke University students were incorrectly told they had COVID-19 Sunday night.

Duke spokesperson Michael Schoenfeld said a data processing error incorrectly notified 67 students they had tested positive for COVID-19. The students were notified of the mistake immediately, he said, adding it was the first error in the nearly 1 million free tests administered by the school.

"We regret the inconvenience and appreciated the students’ patience and understanding," he told the Duke Chronicle. "We have conducted a thorough review of the system to confirm that it was an isolated incident."

According to Schoenfeld, Duke has administered over 900,000 COVID-19 tests to students and employees over the past 17 months.

Duke, which requires students to be vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, has stricter policies than other schools in the area. The university is in remote learning until at least Jan. 18 due to the rapidly-spreading omicron variant.

Through Friday, the statewide, seven-day rolling average saw North Carolina adding more than 18,000 new COVID cases per day. While not every positive sample is tested, state health leaders have said that omicron has become the dominant variant of the coronavirus.

About 3,000 people in North Carolina hospitals have the coronavirus.

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and North Carolina Central, classes are meeting in person with students masked. Those universities do not require that students show proof of vaccination, but all three have regular testing policies in place. Three UNC-CH departments – the schools of global public health, information and library science and social work will start classes virtually.

As of Friday, only 49% of North Carolinians ages 18 to 24 were fully vaccinated against the virus.

UNC expects to see hundreds of new cases daily

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is expecting to see anywhere between 850 and 1,650 new infections each day when students return to campus, according to a report leaked Friday to NC Policy Watch and written by researchers with UNC's department of epidemiology and Paul Delmater, an expert in geographic aspects of health outcomes.

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