COVID-19 on campus: positivity and cases double; Regents lift travel ban

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Gabi Cummings

This graphic depicts the positivity rate and number of COVID-19 cases on campus as well as other statistics regarding the ongoing pandemic.

ELIZABETH KELSEY, News Editor

The number of COVID- 19 cases on the UNI campus as detected by Student Health Center testing doubled last week, and the campus positivity rate more than doubled as well.

According to data released Friday, March12 at noon, the 79 tests conducted from March 8-14 through the Student Health Center resulted in 12 positive cases, for an 15.19% campus positivity rate.

This is an increase of more than 8% than from last week’s rate of 6.82% and marks the first time since the beginning of the spring 2021 semester that the UNI campus positivity rate was above 10%.

However, the positivity rate may decrease slightly today when the Student Health Center updates last week’s data to include any tests conducted on Friday. Since the end-of- week updates only include data collected through Thursday, Friday numbers are added to the weekly total by noon on the following Monday and are therefore not included in the NI’s weekly analysis.

The university also reported six student self-reported cases of COVID-19 from March 8-14, with none from employees. However, these self-report- ed cases may also be counted in the Student Health Center weekly totals and therefore, the numbers cannot be combined for a grand total.

In other pandemic-related news, the UNI COVID-19 Response Team clarified that even after receiving a COVID- 19 vaccine, individuals must still wear masks and maintain social distancing in public spaces on campus. However, vaccinated individuals may gather indoors off campus with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.

Additionally, UNI’s daily Panther Health Survey added a question regarding recent travel which could have increased the respondent’s risk of contracting COVID-19, citing recently updated travel recommendations from the CDC.

“Please remember that the CDC says travel increases your chance of spreading and get- ting COVID-19. You should delay travel to protect yourself and others, ”read an update from the COVID-19Response Team on March 11, the one- year anniversary of the official declaration of COVID-19 as pandemic.

Despite continued CDC guidelines discouraging travel, the Iowa Board of Regents (BOR) announced Thursday that it was lifting a ban on university-sponsored international travel imposed in March 2020 in response to the pandemic.

In a statement, BOR President Michael Richards explained that he was lifting the ban because“conditions related to COVID-19 continue to improve,” although he added that the overall State of Emergency for the Regents Universities issued on March

18, 2020 remains in effect. Decisions regarding inter- national travel are now up to the president of each individual university. According to the COVID-19 Response Team, “UNI is reviewing this decision and will provide information to campus next week.”