UI’s first week of testing compares favorably to fall semester

By Ethan Simmons, News Editor

On the first day of class of the spring semester, campus testing brought back 26 new cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff after 11,662 newly processed tests.

Last semester, 79 new cases were identified on the first day of class, just a week before the case count ballooned on campus.

So far, UI’s newest COVID-19 numbers look favorable to the same point last semester. By the first day of class last fall, 354 people had tested positive in the last eight days. This semester, the last eight days of processed testing have found 214 cases, with no day hitting 40 new cases.

In that same time period last semester, UI conducted 68,000 tests, compared to nearly 73,000 this year.

UI tossed its 2021 spring break for a COVID-19 screening week at the beginning of this semester, where on-campus activities were limited and the recommended arrival times for students were staggered.

Students were required to garner two negative tests more than three days apart to participate in in-person classes.

Last semester, there were no University-imposed limits on nonessential student activity when thousands arrived on campus. The message from University administration was “party safely,” while local governments limited the size of in-person gatherings to 10 people or fewer and indoor dining was limited.

Even then, by the second week of class, more than 1,000 students had tested positive for COVID-19.

The Chancellor’s call for essential activities lasts until Feb. 8, unless testing trends push it further. So far, there have been 467 new recorded cases of COVID-19 at the University since the new year began.

In all, since the UI testing program began, 5,110 students, faculty and staff have tested positive for the virus after more than 1.18 million tests.

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