Just four students tested positive for Covid last week in Cambridge’s asymptomatic testing programme

This represents 0.1% of the student body who were tested

There were only four positive cases of coronavirus recorded in Cambridge’s asymptomatic testing programme last week (18/01 – 24/01).

Initially, seven pooled samples came back positive, however upon confirmatory tests, three of these proved to be false positives.

The estimated level of infection amongst the student body is currently 0.1 per cent, a decrease from the previous week (11/01-17/01) where there were 16 positive cases and a positivity rate of 0.9 per cent.

Last week, 3,569 Cambridge students participated in the asymptomatic testing scheme, with the much lower number reflecting the reduced number of students who have returned to Cambridge this term.

Altogether, it is estimated that approximately 1 in 900 students who have returned to Cambridge this term have COVID-19 without experiencing symptoms.

The asymptomatic testing programme has been extended this term to include many students living in private accommodation, who were exempt from the asymptomatic testing scheme in Michaelmas.

Tests have also been made available for students returning to Cambridge more than three days away from their usual swab day. Last week, 27 students returning to Cambridge received individual tests, all of which came back negative.

The programme has also introduced a “Test to check” scheme for Lent term, meaning students who are self-isolating for any reason but have not themselves tested positive, can continue to be screened on a weekly basis, usually on their normal swab day.

An email sent by Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope on the 27th January  spoke of further expansions to testing schemes. The university will now be able to provide symptomatic testing to individuals who live in a household with university or college staff or students, but who are not themselves staff or students.

The university is also piloting the use of “lateral flow” rapid home testing kits (LFTs) for staff who may be at particularly high risk of transmitting the virus to others, such as those who work full-time on-site and use public transport, or who regularly come into close contact with others.

More information on the university’s testing programmes and precautions to reduce transmissions of coronavirus can be found on the Stay Safe Cambridge Uni website. 

Featured image: Izzy Porter and screenshots from Stay Safe Cambridge Uni via their website