Campus coronavirus update, 10.12.20: Cases, testing ramp up at U of I

Coronavirus cases increased on several Idaho campuses last week, as colleges and universities continued to try to provide face-to-face instruction.

At the University of Idaho, professors will still have the option of teaching classes online this week.

Last week, a White House coronavirus task force report recommended moving U of I, Boise State University and BYU-Idaho classes online, due to high coronavirus cases among college-aged students.

Here are the latest numbers for Idaho’s public and private colleges and universities:

Increasing

University of Idaho. For a seven-day period ending Oct. 2, the U of I reported 116 cases, up from 67 positive cases the preceding week. “The live-in Greek chapters continue to be the primary source of the positives and (four times) more infected than other students living on campus,” the U of I said last week.

Last week, the U of I tested more than 3,000 students for coronavirus, and the process will continue this week until every student on the Moscow campus is tested.

“Public Health continues to report that they have not traced any positive cases to the classroom and believes the infection rate is manageable,” President C. Scott Green and interim Provost Torrey Lawrence said in a memo Friday to students and employees. “Our data indicate the same.”

BYU-Idaho. In one of the state’s coronavirus hotspots, campus spread continued to increase, with 105 active student cases and 20 active employee cases reported Sunday. A week earlier, BYU-Idaho reported 63 active student cases and 12 active employee cases.

Idaho State University. Sixty-nine probable and confirmed cases for a seven-day period ending Tuesday, up from 42 the previous week. Sixty of the new cases involve students, and 65 occurred on the Pocatello campus. ISU identified several clusters — including two in the Division of Health Sciences, one tied to the athletics department and one in the College of Technology.

Lewis-Clark State College. Twenty-four confirmed cases and 12 active confirmed cases reported Friday, up from 13 total cases and seven active cases on Sept. 30. All but one of the cases involve students. One student is in isolation.

With the success we’ve had this fall, it’s easy to get complacent,” President Cynthia Pemberton said in a Monday email to students. “But please don’t. Face coverings, social distancing, hand washing, and symptom reporting have allowed us to keep moving forward this fall, and we can’t let up now.”

Spring classes will begin on Jan. 19, as scheduled, and students are expected to self-quarantine for 14 days before the semester begins.

Northwest Nazarene University. Eleven cases for a seven-day period ending Thursday. Six cases involved employees and five cases involved students. NNU reported eight cases the preceding week. The number of students and employees under stay-at-home directives dropped, from 91 students and employees on Oct. 1 to 78 on Sunday.

College of Southern Idaho. Twenty-five cases in a seven-day period ending Thursday, up from 19 cases the previous week. All but one of the new cases involved students.

North Idaho College. Eight students have self-reported a positive test result since Oct. 4, up from seven the previous week. Since Aug. 16, 24 students and two employees have reported a positive test.

College of Eastern Idaho. Three students and two employees self-reported cases last week, up from three  cases reported the previous week.

Flat

The College of Idaho. No new positive cases reported Thursday. The college has reported 29 cases through the semester, and all cases have been deemed recovered. No students are in campus isolation housing.

Decreasing

Boise State University. Fifty-three new cases reported Friday, down from 97 cases the previous week. Thirty cases involved students who live off campus, 22 involved students living on campus, and one case involved an employee. Demand for isolation beds also eased a bit; 32 of the university’s 153 isolation beds were occupied, down from 54 the previous week.

College of Western Idaho. Two reports last week of coronavirus-positive individuals on campus, down from eight reports the previous week. So far in October, three students or employees have self-reported positive test results; the college received 16 such reports in 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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