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Tulane student tests positive for omicron case; university responds by increasing COVID tests

Tulane Public Relations

A student at Tulane University has reportedly tested positive for the omicron variant of COVID-19, according to a statement released by campus officials Monday afternoon.

The positive case was confirmed over the weekend after a graduate student, who lives off campus, was tested last week, officials said. The student is now isolating, and the statement said that those in close contact with the individual have been notified.

"With the omicron variant now reported in at least 17 states, its appearance within the Tulane community is not unexpected," the statement read. "In fact, the frequency of our testing regimen and our ability to sequence this new variant means that we are much more likely to detect the presence of this variant."

Officials announced in the same release an increase in testing moving forward. Through Dec. 17, the university will randomly select 2,500 faculty, staff and students daily to get tested, regardless of vaccination status.

Those in the campus community who are selected will receive a QR code in a text message and are required by the university to get a COVID-19 test within 96 hours of getting the text.

University officials said their new testing schedule means making sure those in the campus community are tested every seven to ten days.

The first probable omicron case in Louisiana was confirmed Friday evening by the Louisiana Department of Health. The person who tested positive was from the New Orleans area, according to officials.

A crewmember aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship that docked in New Orleans Sunday tested positive for the omicron variant. They remain onboard in isolation, according to a state health department spokesperson.

On the cruise ship, 16 other employees and passengers tested positive for COVID-19.

Katelyn Umholtz is the digital editor for WWNO and WRKF and is based out of New Orleans.

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