17 Tested Positive Before Classes Started at SUU

Before classes began in full swing across campus this week, the first reported cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff already started to trickle in.

As of Sept. 9, 17 people have reported to SUU that they tested positive for the coronavirus. Nine reported a positive test in the seven day period between Aug. 27 to Sept. 2 with eight more reporting to have tested positive from Sept. 3-9.

“The numbers shown here represent SUU’s best effort to capture the number of cases that have been self-reported to SUU from those who have been on campus,” reads SUU’s official COVID-19 Case Count Page.

The page includes a disclaimer stating that there may be other cases on campus that may not have reported a positive test to the school. It also states that some positive tests may have been reported to the health department nearest to the student’s home address.

If a student tests positive for the virus, they’re supposed to fill out SUU’s COVID-19 Reporting Form, but there is no official report sent from the Southwest Utah Public Health Department regarding positive cases.

SWUPHD reported six new cases in Iron County on Friday, bringing the cumulative total of cases in the county to 691. The department reports that 605 patients have lived with the disease for more than two weeks and are considered recovered.

Since Sept. 2, SWUPHD has reported 41 new cases of COVID-19 in Iron County. Of those cases, 25 have come in the last seven days.

Southwestern Utah is tied for the third most COVID-19 related deaths of any public health jurisdiction in the state with 29, behind only the heavily populated Salt Lake and Utah Counties. Two residents of Iron County have died from the disease.

Cases spiked across Utah with 656 new cases reported Friday, but the rise may be tied to reporting delays due to Monday’s Labor Day holiday and Tuesday’s wind storm in northern Utah, health officials said.

For the past seven days, Utah has averaged 403 new positive test results per day. That number surpasses the 400 case per day threshold Gov. Gary Herbert had said he wanted the state to average by Sept. 1, a goal Utah met in mid-August.

The Utah Department of Health reported that since public schools began opening on Aug. 13, there have been 34 outbreaks in schools, infecting 156 patients, with five new outbreaks and eight new cases reported in the past day.

Story by: Connor Sanders
Photo by: Christopher Dimond