New cases continue to decline in fourth week of class; 2,000 cases since move-in

By Ethan Simmons, News Editor

UI’s fourth week of classes, yielded the lowest number of new COVID-19 cases since move-in week. From Sept. 12-18, 181 more people tested positive for COVID-19 for the first time from over 58,000 on-campus saliva tests. From Aug. 15-21, when most students moved back to campus, 192 new cases were identified from 47,000 saliva tests.

Both weeks’ case counts pale in comparison to the first and second week of classes: 443 new cases in the week ended Aug. 28 and 895 new cases in the week ended Sept. 4.

Since Aug. 15, 2,051 students, faculty and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 on campus from over 300,000 tests.

University officials attribute the drop in new cases to the two-week stay-at-home order issued by Chancellor Robert Jones on Sept. 2, when students were restricted to only essential movements.

Week three of classes showed a promising decline: 340 new cases from 53,000 tests.

At the beginning of each week, there is a bump in cases that University researchers believe comes from partying and community spread during the weekend prior. It’s a good indicator of how many unsafe gatherings occurred among students.

As such, Mondays and Tuesdays typically yield the highest case counts of the week. In week two, 429 new cases were found in those two days. In week three, 150. Last week, there were just 85 new cases found from tests done on Monday and Tuesday.

Total tests have also declined since week two of classes when over 74,000 COVID-19 tests were conducted on campus. Since over 95% of cases have been found in undergraduate students, the University changed testing guidance for lower-risk populations on campus.

Now, University faculty, staff and graduate students are only required to test once a week. Meanwhile, some students who are considered to be high-risk for the virus have been ordered to test three times a week.

Since saliva tests were introduced to the community on July 6, over 344,000 tests have been conducted on campus and 2,138 COVID-19 cases have been identified from them as of Friday.

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