The University of Utah’s Housing & Residential Education has received coronavirus tests of 3,248 students who moved into residence halls between Aug. 3-Aug. 23, with a total of 16 positive cases—a positivity rate of .5%. Two test results have not yet been received.
Approximately 3,400 students are expected to live on campus this fall—including about 100 student-athletes who were previously tested when they arrived at the U earlier this summer and late-arriving students.
“This testing of asymptomatic individuals was done to identify anyone who may be positive for COVID-19 but might not be aware of it in order to have them isolate as per public health protocols for mitigating the spread of this contagious disease,” said Lori McDonald, vice president for Student Affairs.
All students who tested positive have either temporarily returned home or have been moved to isolation rooms. HRE is providing food-delivery service and academic support to the students while they are in isolation or quarantine.
The U anticipated that as students returned to campus housing, some asymptomatic individuals would be positive for COVID-19. The university has set aside 407 beds to use to isolate and quarantine students as needed.
The positive case count from the U’s residence halls is included in a case total posted on the U’s newly revised coronavirus information site, coronavirus.utah.edu. Going forward, the U will update the count total daily to reflect self-reported positive COVID-19 cases among campus community members over the previous seven days.
The university’s campus community includes some 62,000 students, staff and faculty.
In order to reduce risk of the virus spreading, the university is asking all campus community members to follow basic health hygiene guidelines—wear a face covering, physically distance, wash hands frequently, gather only in small groups and stay home if you are feeling sick.
Anyone with questions about COVID-19 symptoms or about where to get tested may call the Health and Testing Questions Hotline at 801-587-0712 or visit coronavirus.utah.edu.