By Nathan Ham
Students and employees on Appalachian State’s campus have just 37 active COVID-19 cases, the fewest on campus since 32 active cases were reported on August 31. On October 3, the campus reported its highest active case total of the entire pandemic with 225 students and 10 employees all battling the virus. That number has dropped to 34 students and three employees as of Friday morning, October 23.
Taking a look at the weekly testing totals, the percentage of positive cases has dropped each week since a peak of nine percent on September 27 when there were 1,418 tests taken, and 127 of those returned positive results. From September 28 through October 4, the positive case percentage still remained high at 8.4 percent with 163 positive tests out of 1,934 collected samples. The next week saw a record number of completed tests at 2,674 with 112 positive cases, down to a 4.2 percent positive total. From October 12 through October 18, 1,970 tests were completed with just 45 positive tests (2.3 percent).
“I have heard from many of you who have noticed an encouraging downward trend in our active COVID-19 case counts and in positive test results from our on-campus testing,” said Appalachian’s Chancellor, Sheri Everts. “My leadership team and I are also encouraged, but this is a formidable virus we will be battling for many months to come, and we must not become complacent. Please remember to stay vigilant.”
Everts also pointed out the “excellent compliance” with face-covering requirements on campus and the increased amount of testing. According to the chancellor, over 15,600 COVID-19 tests have been collected on campus this semester.
In other data provided by the university, residence hall occupancy is down to 76 percent as some students have elected to return home and continue the semester with online learning. Also, the university says that they are currently using only 17 percent of the isolation/quarantine space available and have not had to use more than 30 percent of the space at any time this semester.