CORONAVIRUS

Iowa State's new COVID-19 cases continue to drop

Campus reports 18 percent of those quarantined last week went on to test positive

A student is let into the Lied Recreation Center for COVID-19 testing before moving into a campus housing location at Io
A student is let into the Lied Recreation Center for COVID-19 testing before moving into a campus housing location at Iowa State University in Ames on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

Iowa State University in the last week added 63 new COVID-19 cases among students, faculty, and staff — the lowest for any week since the campus resumed in-person instruction for the fall semester on Aug. 17.

That tally included 48 students and two staff members identified as having the virus via on-campus testing, plus 12 students and one staff member who tested positive at an off-campus location — like Test Iowa or a health care clinic.

The new ISU cases were reported between Sept. 14 and Sunday, when the campus’ percent of positive tests rate also dropped to 4.6 percent — down from nearly 8 percent the week prior. During that week — Sept. 7-13 — Iowa State reported 121 new COVID-19 cases, nearly double the following week’s count.

In its worst week — Sept. 24-30 — Iowa State reported 753 new COVID-19 cases on campus.

University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa also have been reporting fewer new coronavirus cases in recent weeks.

UI reported 157 new cases the week of Sept. 14, down from the several hundred it was reporting every few days in August. UNI last week reported 17 Student Health Center cases, which doesn’t include off-campus positives that might be self-reported via a health survey.

UNI’s highest weekly tally from on-campus testing was 54 during the week of Aug. 24.

The new ISU cases bring that campus’ total for all students, faculty, and staff who tested positive both on and off campus since Aug. 1 to 1,626 — including the 175 students who tested positive during required move-in screening.

UI has identified 1,945 since Aug. 18 — including students, faculty, and staff tested on and off campus.

UNI has reported 152 positive tests via its Student Health Center. But that campus is not clearly reporting additional positives from off-campus sites, making the full COVID-19 campus tally unknown. It also isn’t breaking down its on-campus tests by students and employees.

All three campuses are holding aside space in their residence halls for students needing to isolate if they’ve tested positive or quarantine if they’ve come into close contact with a positive.

Iowa State has 10 isolation rooms in use and 31 quarantine rooms in use. At UI, as of Monday, 11 residence hall students were in isolation and one residence hall student was in quarantine. UNI is reporting eight students in isolation and 27 in quarantine.

As Iowa State continues to expand the data it’s making publicly available, the institution now is reporting the number of students, faculty, and staff who were placed in quarantine and then eventually tested positive for COVID-19.

For the two weeks between Sept. 7 and 20, 183 of the 1,005 close contacts placed into quarantine tested positive and were moved into isolation — or about 18 percent.

The two weeks prior, 232 — or 19 percent — of the 1,214 close contacts in ISU quarantine went on to test positive. The rate was lower in August.

None of the three campuses have reported any COVID-19-related hospitalizations.

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

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