CORONAVIRUS

Iowa State University reports another 324 COVID-19 cases, adding 690 in two weeks

Campuses see increases in line with state spikes

A sign marks the beginning of the COVID-19 testing line and check-in for students moving into campus housing at Lied Rec
A sign marks the beginning of the COVID-19 testing line and check-in for students moving into campus housing at Lied Recreation Center at Iowa State University in Ames on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

Iowa State University on Monday reported another batch of new campus COVID-19 cases topping 300 for the second week in a row, after the campus went more than a month through September and into October with fewer than 100 new cases per week.

The spike — adding 690 new COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks — brings Iowa State’s total on the fall semester to 2,667 since Aug. 1, including mandatory move-in testing. These last two weeks of 366 and then 324 new cases are the highest one-week adds since August, prompting ISU President Wendy Wintersteen last week to impose new campuswide restrictions.

University of Iowa, which reports new cases among its campus community every two to three days, added another 62 new COVID-19 cases Monday since Friday. With its Monday report, UI has added 215 new cases since its last Monday report, or 312 including last Monday’s report.

That has the campus total at 2,722 since Aug. 18.

University of Northern Iowa, which like Iowa State reports new cases weekly, on Friday added 75 new COVID-19 cases from on-campus testing. That campus is not reporting a total number of cases from both on- and off-campus testing.

News of the campus increases comes as the state on Monday added another 2,350 COVID-19 cases, according to The Gazette’s analysis of Iowa Department of Public Health data for 24 hours. Iowa has added 30,193 new cases over the last week — marking a 19 percent increase. And the state on Monday reported a one-day 100-patient hospitalizations spike, bringing the total to 1,392 currently. It also set records for COVID-19 patients in intensive care, with 271, and those on ventilators, with 123.

UI Hospitals and Clinics’ COVID-19 inpatient Monday total swelled to 85 — the highest to date. That total included a record 79 adults and six pediatric COVID-19 inpatients. UIHC had 65 on Friday, meaning it added 20 over the weekend. The campus had 55 COVID-19 inpatients Thursday, meaning it jumped by 10 in one day and 30 in four days.

UIHC has 100 ICU beds, but added 16 by implementing the first phase of its surge plan.

None of the university campuses have reported any student or employee hospitalizations.

But the campuses are reporting more students in isolation and quarantine in their residence halls. Iowa State has 30 students who have tested positive in isolation on campus and 37 in quarantine for having close contact with a positive.

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Across its full campus community — including students, faculty and staff — 417 now are “actively in isolation,” up from 114 two weeks ago and just 31 in mid-October. Of its 395 faculty, staff, and students in quarantine for the last two weeks, 94 have tested positive.

UI is reporting 18 residence hall students in isolation and just two in quarantine. UNI is reporting eight in isolation and 56 in quarantine.

Both UNI and ISU finish their fall terms next week, the day before Thanksgiving. Iowa State is offering COVID-19 testing, regardless of symptoms, to students planning to travel for the holidays. UNI, in addition to testing at its Student Health Center for those with symptoms or close contacts, has a Test Iowa site on campus, which offers testing to asymptomatic individuals.

UI’s fall semester is continuing through December, although all courses will shift to virtual mode after Thanksgiving. UI is only offering on-campus testing to students with symptoms or close contacts — save residence hall assistants who are participating in a pilot testing program.

All three campuses have been doing significant learning online for much of the semester.

Currently, about 76 percent of UI undergraduate credit hours are being taught online — that’s 3,469 of all classes, compared with just 621 that were online in fall 2019. The other two report fewer classes are virtual.

More than 41 percent of Iowa State undergraduate courses have an in-person component — with 26 percent fully in person and 16 percent hybrid. About 34 percent are entirely online, and 25 percent involve arranged individual instruction.

At UNI, 73 percent are fully in person, 10 percent are a blended format and 17 percent are fully online.

Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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