KU’s cumulative COVID-19 case total hits 1,000 as various metrics inch upward; 29 new cases reported since Tuesday

photo by: Conner Mitchell/Journal-World

COVID-19 protocols adorn a doorway on the University of Kansas campus.

The University of Kansas’ cumulative COVID-19 case total rose to exactly 1,000 on Friday as the university reported 29 new cases of the respiratory virus.

Since it last released data on Tuesday, KU also saw slight increases in nearly every metric the university publicly tracks.

From Sept. 24 to Sept. 30, the most recent seven-day period for which data is available, KU received results from 943 COVID-19 tests, 37 of which returned positive — a positivity rate of 3.9%. Eight of those positive tests were also included in Tuesday’s data update, which covered testing from Sept. 21 to Sept. 27 and saw an overall positivity rate of 3.2%.

One major increase in Friday’s data came from a metric that includes all of Douglas County. On Tuesday, the university reported that the rate of positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 county residents was at 133, but on Friday it had risen to 156 per 100,000.

The percentage of symptomatic people testing positive for the virus through tests conducted at Watkins Health Center, the on-campus health care provider, also increased Friday. After Tuesday’s data release saw that percentage fall to just 7.1% after weeks of ranging between 25% and 30%, it jumped back up to 13.1% after 13 people tested positive out of 99 swab orders.

This metric does come with the caveat that some swab orders might not yet have confirmed results. KU previously told the Journal-World that the average turnaround time for results from swab tests was between three and seven days, so some of the results might not have come back in time to be recorded on the dashboard update.

Prevalence testing conducted by the university also ticked slightly higher Friday. In Tuesday’s update, 10 people tested positive out of 808 tests conducted, a positive rate of 1.2%. On Friday, 13 people tested positive out of 810 tests conducted, a rate of 1.6%. That figure is still lower than when KU first released its COVID-19 dashboard in mid-September, when the prevalence testing rate was closer to 7%.

The number of students in on-campus isolation and quarantine also rose from 92 on Tuesday to 97 Friday. Notably, the number of students in isolation, meaning they tested positive for the virus, increased from 17 to 21. Those in quarantine, meaning they came in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, rose from 75 to 76.

Also on Friday, KU released a new short-term forecast from its Pandemic Medical Advisory Team. In two weeks, on Oct. 16, the university’s modeling expects new case counts to be in the range of six new cases per day — the same projection it has made the last two weeks. The model also projected that on Oct. 16, the cumulative case total would be at roughly 1,020 cases. That predictive model, though, has lagged behind actual case numbers since it was unveiled.

The university will next release COVID-19 data on Tuesday.


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