Campus coronavirus roundup, 11.09.20: Case numbers (and testing) ramp up at Boise State

As coronavirus cases skyrocket across much of Idaho, including Ada County, Boise State University reported its highest case numbers in more than a month.

But unlike the statewide case spike, the Boise State increases do correlate with an increase in testing. Only 4 percent of Boise State’s tests came back positive for coronavirus last week. By comparison — for the week ending Oct. 31, the most recent testing data available — statewide and countywide positivity rates were 15 and 10 percent, respectively.

Here’s this week’s campus roundup.

Increasing rapidly (more than 100 percent)

Boise State University. After a seven-week low in new cases, numbers shot up for seven-day period ending Thursday. Boise State reported 94 new cases, compared to 43 cases the previous week. That’s a 119 percent increase in cases, but Boise State said its testing numbers also increased by 117 percent.

The bulk of this week’s new cases — 66 in all — involved students who live off campus. Twenty-three cases involved students living on campus, and five cases involved employees. Demand for isolation beds increased sharply; 26 of Boise State’s 153 isolation beds were occupied, up from 10 the previous week.

College of Western Idaho. A sharp increase, although overall numbers remained low. In the past week, nine people have self-reported coronavirus cases, up from three cases the previous week. The college compiles monthly case numbers; 32 people self-reported cases in October, and two cases have been reported so far in November. 

Increasing

North Idaho College. Eleven students and four employees self-reported a positive test last week, compared to 10 students and two employees the previous week. Since July, 87 students and employees have reported a positive test.

College of Eastern Idaho. Four students and six employees self-reported cases last week, down from eight student cases reported the previous week. Since Aug. 24, the college has reported a total of 56 cases involving students and employees.

Northwest Nazarene University. Sixteen cases last week, up from 12 cases the preceding week. Twelve of the cases, reported Tuesday, involved students living on campus. The number of students and employees under stay-at-home directives also spiked; 145 students and employees were in isolation Friday, compared to 92 on Oct. 30.

Flat

College of Southern Idaho. Sixteen new cases in a seven-day period ending Thursday, unchanged from the previous week. Fourteen of the new cases involved students. 

Decreasing

University of Idaho. For the fourth straight week, case numbers decreased sharply.  The U of I reported just seven cases for the seven-day period ending Oct. 30, down from 21 cases the preceding week. No students were in isolation, and after extensive quarantines earlier in the semester, no Greek houses were in quarantine last week.

“While we are diligently working to keep the virus under control on campus, it is not under control in much of the country,” President C. Scott Green said in a Nov. 2 memo to the campus community. “I encourage each of you to think about your plans for Fall Break and the weeks after.”

Fall classes will go online after Thanksgiving.

Idaho State University. Here as well, case numbers dropped for the fourth consecutive week. ISU reported 49 probable and confirmed cases for a seven-day period ending Tuesday, down from 52 the previous week. Thirty-three of the week’s new cases involve students, and 45 occurred on the Pocatello campus. The university is investigating one case cluster, two cases in campus housing.

Lewis-Clark State College. On Friday, Lewis-Clark reported 13 active cases, compared to 22 active cases the previous week. The college has reported 84 confirmed cases since Aug. 24. Two students are in isolation, up from one from last week.

BYU-Idaho. A continued decrease: BYU-Idaho Sunday reported 75 active student cases and five active employee cases, compared to 80 active student cases and seven active employee cases on Nov. 1.

The College of Idaho. Just one new positive test reported in the past week, down from five cases the previous week. As of Friday, C of I has reported 54 positive COVID-19 tests for the semester. Two people are in campus isolation housing, up from one the previous week.

Check Kevin Richert’s blog each Friday for a weekly roundup of statewide coronavirus trends.

 

About Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on KIVI 6 On Your Side; "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television; and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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