KU adds 40 new cases of COVID-19, symptomatic positive testing rates rise in latest data update

photo by: Conner Mitchell/Journal-World

This file photo from September 2020 shows a sign directing participants to a new drive-thru COVID-19 test clinic in the Naismith Hall parking lot on the University of Kansas campus.

The University of Kansas has confirmed 40 more cases of COVID-19 since data was last released Friday, bringing the school’s cumulative case total to 1,071.

New data was released on KU’s COVID-19 dashboard Wednesday after being delayed Tuesday, the normal release day, because of a data issue, a university spokesperson told the Journal-World.

From Oct. 5 to Oct. 11, the most recent seven-day period for which data is available, KU confirmed 51 cases of COVID-19 from a total of 1,176 tests, a positive rate of 4.3%. This data, however, overlaps slightly with the seven-day period covered by Friday’s update, Oct. 1-7, as 11 of the 51 cases in Wednesday’s update were previously confirmed.

The number of KU students confirmed to be in isolation, meaning they tested positive for the respiratory virus, rose by nearly 30% in Wednesday’s update. On Friday, 21 students were confirmed to be in isolation, but by Wednesday the number rose to 27. The number of KU students in quarantine, meaning they came in close contact with a confirmed positive case, dipped slightly from 68 on Friday to 67 Wednesday.

The overall number of KU students sequestered due to COVID-19 rose from 89 to 94.

Douglas County, which tracks the rate of positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in KU’s dashboard updates, also reported a metric increase Wednesday. Last week, that rate was 92 cases per 100,000 residents, but on Wednesday it rose to 119 cases per 100,000 residents.

One other metric that rose in Wednesday’s update was the percentage of patients exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 ultimately testing positive for the virus at KU’s two symptomatic test centers. One of those is at Watkins Health Center, the on-campus health care provider, where 10 people tested positive from a total of 48 nasal swab test orders — a positive rate of 20.8%. That’s up from Friday’s update when only 15.4% of patients tested positive.

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.

The second symptomatic test clinic KU offers is located in the parking lot of Naismith Hall, 1800 Naismith Drive, where 25 people out of 100 tests conducted were positive, according to Wednesday’s update. That 20% positive rate is up from last week, where 17 people tested positive out of 101 total tests, a rate of 14.4%.

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

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