CORONAVIRUS

University coronavirus cases rise in step with Iowa increases

Iowa State sees spike of 366 new cases over last week

Beardshear Hall on the Iowa State University campus in Ames on Friday, July 31, 2015. (The Gazette)
Beardshear Hall on the Iowa State University campus in Ames on Friday, July 31, 2015. (The Gazette)

In step with the state’s skyrocketing COVID-19 case numbers, Iowa State University — just two weeks from the end of its amended fall semester — is reporting a spike in on-campus numbers, with 366 during the week of Nov. 2-8.

That 366 includes 330 students and 14 faculty or staff who learned they were positive via on-campus testing. It also includes 14 students and eight staff members who tested positive off campus — through Test Iowa or a health care clinic.

The 366 is 3.5 times the 103 new ISU cases reported the week before — bringing the campus case total since Aug. 1 to 2,342 — including mandatory move-in testing.

During the same Nov. 2-8 stretch, the state added 25,109 new cases — including four of those seven days with daily tallies over 4,000. Iowa on Monday reported another 4,055 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, meaning five of the last seven days saw 4,000-plus new cases.

On Monday, Iowa also reported for the first time COVID-related hospitalizations over 1,000 — at 1,034. Its daily positivity rate was nearly 43 percent, and Linn County added 520 new cases alone — shattering its record of 390 new cases in a day.

Story County, home to Iowa State, added another 37 cases; Black Hawk County, home to University of Northern Iowa, added 203 cases in 24 hours; and Johnson County, home to University of Iowa, added 253 new cases — with a more than 39 percent positive rate.

Another four Iowans died of COVID-19 in the 24-hour period that ended Monday morning, bringing the state’s COVID death total to 1,846.

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UI Hospitals and Clinics, which last week enacted the first phase of its surge-capacity plan, on Monday reported 56 adult and two pediatric COVID-19 inpatients. That is among the highest daily reports, if not the highest, it has seen at any one time to date.

Before fall semester began, ISU and UNI decided to start early and end early, on the day before Thanksgiving, in hopes of stopping students from traveling home for the holidays and then returning to campus through December.

Although UI didn’t amend its original fall calendar, it did announce all in-person classes will move online after Thanksgiving break — allowing students who go home for Thanksgiving to stay there through the end of finals week in December.

UI, like Iowa State, has seen its campus COVID-19 cases increasing in recent days — reporting another 78 student cases and 19 employee cases over the weekend, for a campus total of 2,507 since Aug. 18.

UNI reported another 96 positive cases out of its Student Health Center for the week of Nov. 2-8, three times the 32 it reported the week before.

UNI has 35 students in residence hall quarantine — for those with confirmed contact with a positive case — and fewer than six in isolation, mandated for those who have tested positive.

UI on Monday reported four residence hall students in quarantine and 10 in isolation. And ISU on Monday reported 399 members of its campus community are in isolation some place — not necessarily in the residence halls.

Of the 162 ISU campus community members in quarantine between Oct. 26 and Nov. 8 after having close contact with a positive case, 38 — or 23 percent — eventually tested positive.

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Iowa State has not received any reports of COVID-19-related hospitalizations among students, faculty and staff to date. UI and UNI have not reported on campus-community hospitalizations either way.

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

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