KU confirms 9 additional cases of COVID-19 over the weekend; number of students in isolation jumps to 29

photo by: Conner Mitchell/Journal-World

A bus, equipped with new university decals, drives on the University of Kansas campus.

The University of Kansas on Tuesday confirmed nine new cases of COVID-19 on its campus since its last update on Friday and saw a significant jump in the number of students in isolation because of the virus.

Over the most recent seven-day period for which data is available — Sept. 28 through Oct. 4 — KU confirmed a total of 41 new cases. However, that data overlaps somewhat with the report that was released Friday, which covered statistics from Sept. 24 through Sept. 30.

KU’s cumulative virus case total now sits at 1,009 positives out of 28,743 total tests conducted — most of which came during mass entry testing that was mandatory for everyone returning to campus for the fall semester. Since the mass entry testing concluded in early September, the university’s testing strategy has shifted to a more targeted approach of testing those exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms and doing random population samples to measure the virus’ spread.

While the total case number increased only marginally in Tuesday’s update, there was one metric which jumped by nearly 40%: the number of students confirmed to be in isolation.

The number of students isolating — meaning they have COVID-19 — rose from 21 students on Friday to 29 on Tuesday, a 38.1% increase. A week ago, only 17 students were isolating, meaning that metric has seen a 70.6% increase in seven days.

Another metric which again increased Tuesday was the percentage of symptomatic people who tested positive through tests administered at Watkins Health Center, the on-campus health care provider. That rate had recently dropped below 10% but is now back above 20% after 22 people tested positive out of 106 nasal swab test orders, according to the university’s COVID-19 data update.

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 in the public dashboard updates disseminated on Tuesdays and Fridays.

One positive sign from Tuesday’s update came from a metric that saw the single biggest increase last week: the rate of positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Douglas County residents. On Friday, that rate was at 156 per 100,000, but on Tuesday it dropped to 95 per 100,000, the lowest level since KU began reporting it as part of its COVID-19 dashboard.

KU will next release COVID-19 data on Friday, along with a new short-term forecast from its Pandemic Medical Advisory Team.

Contact Conner Mitchell

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