Iowa State COVID positivity rate rises above 40 percent


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Caleb Weingarten discusses the possibility of future COVID-19 lockdowns.

Molly Blanco

Iowa State reported its highest COVID positivity rate yet last week, reflecting the increase in COVID cases on campus this semester. 

The university reported a COVID-19 positivity rate of 40.96 percent for the week of Jan. 24 through Jan. 30. Of 354 tests conducted, 145 individuals tested positive.

The positivity rate for the previous week (Jan. 17 through 23) was 37.36 percent, with 348 tests conducted. 

The campus positivity rate first jumped at the end of December, increasing from 5.65 percent during the week of Dec. 20 to 35.44 percent during the week of Dec. 27. The university also reported a positivity rate above 35 percent each week in January. 

The highest positivity rate recorded during the fall semester was 10.48 percent during the week of Oct. 25 through Oct. 31. 

The campus positivity rate is updated each Wednesday and reflects the data from the previous week. 

Following the increase in COVID cases on campus, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Thursday the end of the Public Health Disaster Proclamation in Iowa. The proclamation has been in effect in Iowa since the start of the pandemic.

“The flu and other infectious illnesses are part of our everyday lives, and coronavirus can be managed similarly,” Reynolds said in a tweet Thursday afternoon. 

The end of the proclamation will go into effect Feb. 15. The website used to track COVID-19 statistics in Iowa, such as positive cases, deaths and hospitalizations, will be decommissioned on that date. The Vaccinate Iowa website, which provides information about the COVID vaccine and helps people find a vaccine near them, will also be decommissioned.

The university reiterated its stance on COVID-19 mitigation strategies in an announcement Jan. 6. 

“We encourage you to get vaccinated, wear a mask and stay home if you are sick,” the update said. 

Students, faculty and staff can receive a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine booster at clinics on campus. Vaccine clinics offering Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 9 and March 2 at State Gym.

Students can also receive a COVID-19 vaccine at Thielen Student Health Center from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information about vaccination at Iowa State, visit the university’s vaccination website. Students can register for a vaccine clinic or schedule a vaccination appointment on the website. 

Iowa State continues to recommend mask usage indoors, even for fully vaccinated individuals. 

“All students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus are encouraged to wear face masks in all indoor spaces when around others,” according to the Board of Regents guidelines. “Unvaccinated individuals are encouraged to wear a face mask anywhere they are around others, and to practice physical distancing when possible.”

Iowa State also offers free rapid antigen test kits, which require a self-collected nasal swab and show results in 15 minutes. The tests are available at the following locations on campus:

Thielen Student Health Center front desk

Memorial Union information desk

Union Drive Community Center mailroom

Vet Med Room 2270

Maple Willow Larch hall desk

For more information about COVID-19 at Iowa State, visit the university’s Moving Forward website