Cases Rise Slightly as Fall Semester Ends at Southern Utah University

suu covid case

On the last day of the Fall 2020 Semester, 59 members of Southern Utah University’s campus community self-reported receiving a positive test for COVID-19 last week.

All of the cases reported on SUU’s COVID-19 Case Count page Thursday occurred on campus from Dec. 10-16, continuing a recent uptick as students consider departing for the winter break.

From Dec. 3-9, 53 members of the campus community received a positive COVID-19 test, a slight uptick from the week prior despite the mass move to remote instruction after Thanksgiving Break on Nov. 30. 

In total, 524 students, faculty and staff reported contracting COVID-19 during the semester. 

Thursday also marks the last day that the university will offer COVID-19 antigen tests to students before the Spring 2021 Semester.

In an email to students, Provost Jon Anderson said, “We will still be offering COVID testing in the spring and anticipate it resuming on January 5.” 

The university, according to Anderson’s email, will offer six days of testing before the return of the mix of in-person, hybrid and remote instruction set to resume at SUU on Jan. 11.

At the end of the semester, the number of cases at SUU remained much lower than totals at other institutions in the state.

The largest outbreak tied to a school happened among Brigham Young University’s campus community where 3,619 cases were reported during the fall semester. Utah State University reported 2,216 cases since Aug. 31. 

The University of Utah reported 2,056 since Aug. 24, and Utah Valley University reported 1,299 cases in total. Even SUU’s neighbors down I-15 at Dixie State University had more cases than at SUU, reporting 653 in total.

The state’s six largest universities have added 8,205 cases to the state’s total, which has now surpassed 240,000.

In Iron County, the Southwest Utah Public Health Department reported 53 new cases. Over the last seven days, officials announced 311 new cases in the county, an average of 44 new cases per day. There are currently 1,153 active cases in the county, per SWUPHD.

An Iron County male aged between 65-84, who was not hospitalized at the time of his death, was one of 30 deaths announced Thursday by the Utah Department of Health — a record increase for a single day in Utah.

Utah’s death toll from COVID-19 stood at 1,126 Thursday, which marked the end of the virus’s deadliest two weeks since the pandemic began.

UDOH reported 3,203 new cases in Utah as the state’s rate of new diagnoses held steady at 2,570 cases per day.

Editor’s Note:

Over the last few months, the staff of the University Journal has worked diligently to update our readers daily on the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic at Southern Utah University, in Iron County and in the state of Utah.

As the semester comes to an end, our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic will continue in an updated format. Instead of posting daily updates as in weeks past, one update will be posted every Thursday in conjunction with updates posted on SUU’s COVID-19 Case Count page.

Our daily updates will continue in the spring, but until then, consider staying informed and supporting local journalism by reading daily updates from St. George Spectrum, the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News.

Story by: Connor Sanders
Photo by: Mitchell Quartz