As students begin to leave campus for the much-awaited spring break next week, another 23 members of Southern Utah University’s campus community have tested positive for COVID-19.
The cases were reported by students, faculty and staff from Feb. 18-24, and 21 of the infections mentioned in an update to the university’s COVID-19 Case Count page published Thursday occurred on campus.
Following a 85-case spike reported from Jan. 7-13, the week students returned to campus for the Spring 2021 Semester, new infections had fallen progressively at SUU. The number of new cases per week has plateaued around 20 over the last three weeks.
Since the school began posting updates again after the holiday break, 327 cases have been reported at SUU. In total, 842 members of the campus community have informed the university of a positive test since tracking began on Aug. 27.
The COVID-19 Testing Center will be closed during the break to give the volunteers and nursing students who administer asymptomatic tests in the Sharwan Smith Student Center Ballroom a chance to rest.
Students that would like an asymptomatic test during that time can use Southwest Tech’s asymptomatic testing center. Testing will be available on March 3 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for SUU students and employees. To schedule an appointment, visit Southwest Tech’s Testing Center page.
Randomized testing at SUU will resume for students taking in-person classes on March 8, according to an email sent to students by the school’s COVID-19 task force. That email states that the university will offer a meal voucher at any of the campus dining areas for every student who takes a test.
The task force reminded students that, “Travel increases the chance you may be exposed to or spread COVID-19 and it’s up to each of us to be diligent and keep our SUU community safe when returning to campus.”
In Iron County, the Southwest Utah Public Health Department announced 14 new cases Friday. There were two new fatalities reported in the county last week: a male between the ages of 65-84 who was not hospitalized at the time of death on Feb. 20, and a male 45-64 who was also not hospitalized that was reported Friday. Over the last seven days, SWUPHD has reported 12.3 new cases per day on average.
Gov. Spencer Cox said that Utahns age 16 and older with certain severe and chronic health conditions can now make appointments to be vaccinated.
Story by: Connor Sanders
Photo by: Christopher Dimond