UI revisits COVID-19 policies due to recent rise in cases

COVID-19+testing+site+with+spaced+out+zones+for+people+to+take+the+PCR+test+at+the+ARC+from+Feb.+1%2C+2021.+With+the+recent+rise+in+cases%2C+the+University+plans+to+revisit+more+COVID-19+precautions.+

The Daily Illini File Photo

COVID-19 testing site with spaced out zones for people to take the PCR test at the ARC from Feb. 1, 2021. With the recent rise in cases, the University plans to revisit more COVID-19 precautions.

By Royal Shrestha, Assistant News Editor

With the recent rise in cases on campus, the University is considering additional measures in its response to COVID-19 such as reexpanding PCR testing and providing updated booster shots.

According to Allison Vance, director of institutional communications, while the University currently has only one COVID-19 testing site at the Illini Union, it is looking into expanding on-campus PCR testing for faculty, staff and students. 

Additionally, the University is working with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District to provide updated COVID-19 boosters for the campus community, which the University expects to be available for students, faculty and staff this month.

While there were all time highs in the positivity rate before Labor Day weekend according to the University’s COVID-19 SHIELD data, Vance said the positivity rate is skewed and does not reflect the entire University population.

“It’s important to note that we should not compare and interpret a current positivity rate now and positivity rates of the past to be equal,” she said.

Vance noted that most individuals getting an on-campus COVID-19 test are unvaccinated or symptomatic. She also said that the positive cases being reported to the University have been very mild or asymptomatic.

Students, faculty and staff can also pick up a free at-home antigen test once per day at various locations on campus. While the University’s supply of 10,000 antigen test kits ran out last week, an additional 10,000 kits were provided to the University for distribution this week, according to Vance. 

“I was surprised to see so many empty seats in my classes and finding out from my professor that it was because of COVID-19,” said Dan Chang, junior in LAS. “I’m guessing more students would have taken precautions if we didn’t run out of antigen tests.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are still many cases of “vaccine breakthrough infections” where vaccinated people still contract COVID-19. The CDC said the symptoms of breakthrough infections are not as severe as those that are unvaccinated. 

 

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