Campus coronavirus roundup, 11.16.20: Case numbers spike, nearly across the board

As Idaho’s coronavirus case numbers and deaths reach record highs, outbreaks are spiking across most of the state’s campuses.

Nearly every college and university in Idaho is grappling with increasing case numbers. The coronavirus has forced its first campus closure of the fall semester — a stay-in-place order at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa.

Here’s the campus roundup.

Increasing rapidly (more than 100 percent) 

Northwest Nazarene University. A sharp uptick in cases led to the stay-in-place directive late Tuesday. The week’s numbers remained grim: 42 cases in a seven-day period ending Friday, up from 21 cases the preceding week. In all, 34 of the new cases involved students living on campus.

NNU hopes to lift the one-week stay-in-place directive on Wednesday.

University of Idaho. Case numbers more than doubled — but remained far lower than peak outbreaks in October. The U of I reported 25 cases for the seven-day period ending Nov. 6, up from seven cases the preceding week.

For the week, 2.5 percent of campus tests were positive.

The College of Idaho. Thirteen positive tests reported in the past week, up from just one positive result the previous week. As of Friday, C of I has reported 67 positive COVID-19 tests for the semester. Two people are in campus isolation housing, and 12 people are isolating off-campus.


Boise State University. A second consecutive increase, but a slight one: Boise State reported 96 new cases Friday, up from 94 the previous week.

In all, 4.7 percent of campus test results came back positive.

Again, the bulk of the new cases — 75 in all — involved students who live off campus. Sixteen cases involved students living on campus, and five cases involved employees. Demand for isolation beds crept upward; 30 of Boise State’s 153 isolation beds were occupied, up from 26 the previous week.

Idaho State University. A slight increase: 51 probable and confirmed cases for a seven-day period ending Tuesday, compared to 49 the previous week. Thirty-seven of the week’s new cases involve students, and 46 occurred on the Pocatello campus. The university is investigating three case clusters: three cases in athletics, two cases in one household in campus housing and a suspected cluster in the College of Technology.

Lewis-Clark State College. Nineteen active cases reported Thursday, up from 13 the previous week. The college has reported 102 confirmed cases since Aug. 24. Two students are in isolation, unchanged from the previous week.

College of Southern Idaho. Twenty new cases in a seven-day period ending Thursday, compared to 18 the previous week. Sixteen of the new cases involved students, and 17 cases were linked to CSI’s main campus in Twin Falls.

North Idaho College. Twenty-four students and three employees have self-reported a positive test last week, compared to 11 students and four employees the previous week. Since July, 114 students and employees have reported a positive test.

BYU-Idaho. A slight increase in overall cases: BYU-Idaho Thursday reported 81 active student cases and four active employee cases, compared to 75 active student cases and five active employee cases on Nov. 8. In a memo to the campus community Tuesday, university officials urged caution in making Thanksgiving plans.

“According to public health officials, staying at your current residence for Thanksgiving is the best way to protect yourself and others from illness,” university officials said.

BYU-Idaho is planning a series of campus events — including a take-home dinner — for students who stay on the Rexburg campus for Thanksgiving.

College of Eastern Idaho. Twelve students and five employees self-reported cases last week, up from 10 cases reported the previous week. Since Aug. 24, the college has reported a total of 73 cases involving students and employees. 


College of Western Idaho. Nine people have self-reported coronavirus cases in the past week, unchanged from the previous week. Students and staff have self-reported 11 cases so far in November, and 61 since the beginning of September.

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


Kevin Richert

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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