UI’s new cases swing up on fifth week, over 2,000 tested positive during semester

The+Universitys+COVID-19+dashboard+on+Sept.+28.+After+more+than+59%2C000+new+tests%2C+245+more+people+tested+positive+for+COVID-19+on+campus%2C+in+the+week+ended+Sept.+27.+

Photo courtesy of Ethan Simmons

The University’s COVID-19 dashboard on Sept. 28. After more than 59,000 new tests, 245 more people tested positive for COVID-19 on campus, in the week ended Sept. 27.

By Ethan Simmons, News Editor

With another 28 cases of COVID-19 identified from 4,402 University saliva tests on Sunday, testing from the fifth week of classes showed a discouraging trend: every daily case count exceeded the total from the same day last week. 

The week ended Sept. 20 featured the lowest new case count of the semester: 178 new cases after over 58,000 tests. 

For the week ended Sept. 27, the virus’s spread picked up, with 245 new campus cases after 59,000 new tests. 

The University has found more than 2,000 new cases of COVID-19 since classes began on Aug. 24, and 2,356 since Aug. 15, when students began moving in.

Near the beginning of the semester, modelers predicted to find around 700 COVID-19 cases on campus through the entire fall term. 

When campus cases spiked in late August and early September, with over 600 new cases found in just four days, UI administrators issued a two-week stay-at-home order for undergraduate students, who constitute more than 95% of all campus COVID-19 cases. 

Testing was limited to once a week for faculty, staff and graduate students. Students were limited to essential activities only, like getting food, getting tested and individually exercising outdoors. 

After two weeks, the lockdown significantly curbed campus spread, but the stagnation hasn’t been reduced to a trickle like the UI hoped. The last two weeks of testing data, plus 36 new cases on Monday, have brought in an average of more than 30 new cases a day. 

If that rate continues, the University would be in for another 1,600 cases before fall break begins. More than 2,400 people have tested positive through on-campus tests to date. 

Currently, around 38,000 people are testing on campus every week. A 4,000 case count would bring the percentage of students, faculty and staff on campus who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 would exceed 10%.

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