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61 Students and 17 Faculty/Staff Test Positive for COVID, March 15-21

graphic for Duke COVID Testing Results

Duke University’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing and contact tracing program administered 20,018 tests to 9,729 students and 2,437 tests to 1,246 faculty/staff for the period March 15-21, with a total of 78 positive results. The total positivity rate was 0.35 percent.

This represents a significant decline from last week. The downward trend allowed the university to lift most of the restrictions that were part of the “Stay in Place” order for undergraduate students which began March 13 at midnight and ended at 9 a.m. March 21.

Summary of results from this period:

  • 19,726 surveillance tests were administered to asymptomatic undergraduate and graduate students who are living on and off campus with 41 positive results
  • 292 tests were administered to students who reported symptoms or were identified through contact tracing with 20 positive results
  • 2,331 surveillance tests were administered to asymptomatic faculty/staff who are working on campus this semester and are voluntarily participating in the testing program with seven positive results
  • 106 tests were administered to faculty/staff who reported symptoms or were identified through contact tracing with 10 positive results
  • All individuals who test positive are required to observe an isolation period until they are cleared to return to normal activities; contact tracing is underway to identify those who may have been exposed and ask them to quarantine
  • 200 students who had been in isolation and 259 who had been in precautionary quarantine were cleared to return to normal activities


  • Positive cases were identified through surveillance testing for asymptomatic students as well as tests for those exhibiting symptoms. The individuals who tested positive have been placed in isolation, while those identified as potential contacts have been placed in precautionary quarantine.
  • All students who are placed in precautionary quarantine or isolation are monitored by Duke Student Health and have the ability to continue their coursework remotely
  • Duke has more than 300 individual beds for students who live in Duke-provided housing and are identified for isolation or quarantine
  • Students who live in Duke-provided housing will be isolated or quarantined in campus facilities; students who live off campus must isolate or quarantine in their residence.
  • Tests administered to student-athletes are included in these results

Types of tests administered in this period:

  1. Surveillance testing for asymptomatic students (on and off campus) and faculty/staff
  2. Clinical testing for individuals who report symptoms or who are identified through contact tracing

More information on Duke’s COVID-19 testing program can be found at Results are updated every Tuesday morning.