The rate of new COVID-19 cases at Southern Utah University fell for the fourth consecutive week as 21 new infections were reported among the campus community on the school’s COVID-19 Case Count page Thursday.
The cases occurred from Feb. 11-17 among the pool of SUU students, faculty and staff who are required to self-report positive tests to the university online. Only one of the 21 new cases announced Thursday was reported off-campus.
Thursday’s total is the lowest that has been reported at SUU in a single week since Oct. 15-21, when 11 new cases were counted.
SUU did not post a case update last week, but added new infections from Feb. 4-10 with Thursday’s update. 26 cases were reported during that period, and only three of those are considered off-campus.
In the seven weeks since the university began posting case counts again after the break between semesters, the campus community has informed the school of 304 new COVID-19 infections. Seven weeks into the Fall 2020 Semester, only 48 cases had been reported.
New case numbers at SUU have fallen considerably since the 85 case spike that occurred from Jan. 7-13 — the week students returned to campus for the Spring 2021 Semester.
In total, 819 members of the campus community have tested positive for COVID-19 since the university began tracking cases on Aug. 31, 2020.
Rapid antigen testing is still available to asymptomatic and symptomatic members of the campus community, but students no longer need to be tested every two weeks like last semester. Instead, the school has implemented randomized testing protocols to track the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 among students.
Those who are symptomatic can schedule an appointment to be tested at the J. Reuben Clark Center (formerly known as the Alumni House).
In Iron County, the Southwest Utah Public Health Department announced 26 new cases Friday. Since SUU last published a COVID-19 update, three male Iron County residents between the age of 65-84 have died from the disease.
Gov. Spencer Cox announced in a news conference Thursday that anyone over the age of 65 can now register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and Utahns can now sign up for immunization at their local Wal-Mart.
On its Twitter account, SWUPHD cautioned residents who may rush at the chance for immunization, saying that “demand remains high so it may take several weeks to get an appointment.”
SWUPHD also announced that adults with certain underlying health conditions will be able to sign up for the vaccine starting March 1 on SWUPHD’s website.
Story by: Connor Sanders
Photo by: Christopher Dimond