Campus coronavirus roundup, 11.30.20: A holiday break brings a decrease in case numbers

As Idaho college campuses cleared out for the Thanksgiving break, coronavirus case numbers decreased nearly across the board.

That even includes Boise State University, which was forced to abruptly cancel a home football game Saturday due to upward trends in cases and contact tracing within the program. Football activities are now on hold until at least Tuesday, the Idaho Statesman reported Saturday.

Students are returning to classes Monday — albeit online, in many cases, as universities stick to their plans to suspend face-to-face instruction after the holiday break. Here’s this week’s campus roundup.


Boise State University. As the campus closed for the holiday, case numbers dropped sharply. Boise State reported 49 new cases, down from 121 cases the previous week.

In all, 3.4 percent of tests came back positive, compared to 5.9 percent the previous week.

The bulk of the new cases — 38 in all — involved students living off campus. Two cases involved students living on campus, and nine involved employees.

Only three of Boise State’s 153 isolation beds were occupied, down from six the previous week.

University of Idaho. A slight decrease. The U of I reported 60 cases for the seven-day period ending Nov. 20, down from 66 cases the preceding week.

However, the positive test rate increased to 5.5 percent, up from 3.8 percent — but U of I officials said the increase reflected the campus population that came in for tests.

“The results include symptomatic testing, close contact testing after the six-day minimum wait period from last exposure, and voluntary testing by U of I students and employees who thought they may have been exposed and wanted to be sure they were negative before being around family and friends,” the U of I said. “It did not include the random general surveillance testing of asymptomatic members of the U of I community, so, as expected, we did see an increase in the percent of positives.”

Idaho State University. ISU reported 61 probable and confirmed cases for a seven-day period ending Tuesday, the final day of in-person learning for fall semester. This number is down slightly from 63 cases the previous week. Forty-seven of the week’s new cases involve students, and 59 occurred on the Pocatello campus.

ISU identified one cluster among students, four living on campus and seven living off campus. Also under investigation: a cluster of three cases associated with the Eli M. Oboler Library, and two cases involving staff.

College of Western Idaho. Thirteen people have self-reported coronavirus cases in the past week, down from 17 the previous week. In all, 41 students and staff have self-reported cases so far in November, and 90 since the beginning of September.

North Idaho College. Ten students and two employees self-reported a positive test last week. NIC counted 30 self-reported cases the preceding week. Since July, 161 students and employees have reported a positive test.

College of Eastern Idaho. CEI reported four student cases and two staff cases for a shortened period from Nov. 21 through Wednesday. By contrast, 27 students and employees self-reported cases from Nov. 14 to 20. Since Aug. 24, the college has reported a total of 106 cases involving students and employees.

BYU-Idaho. Another weekly decrease: BYU-Idaho Sunday reported 42 active student cases and eight active employee cases, compared to a total of 69 active cases on Nov. 22.

The College of Idaho. Two new positive tests reported Wednesday, compared to 10 the previous week. C of I has reported 79 positive COVID-19 tests for the semester. One person was in campus isolation housing, down from four the previous week. Three people are isolating off-campus, down from six the preceding week.

Northwest Nazarene University. NNU reported eight new cases from Nov. 20 through Wednesday, down from 31 cases from Nov. 13 to 19. Six of the new cases involved students living on campus. In all, NNU is reporting seven active cases, down from 45 cases the previous week.


Lewis-Clark State College. Sixteen active cases reported Wednesday, unchanged from the previous week. The college has reported 131 confirmed cases since Aug. 24. Three students were in isolation, up from two the previous week.

College of Southern Idaho. No report.

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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