MOSCOW, ID - A Tuesday memo from University of Idaho President Scott Green says since the university started official COVID-19 testing August 6, over 8,500 tests have been completed, and the overall percent of positives now stands at 1.11%.
"I am grateful for the efforts our students, staff and faculty have made to get us off to a good start. We all want to remain open and are willing to make sacrifices to support our world-class faculty who provide students transformational educational experiences. I also appreciate the modeling experts at our own Institute for Modeling Collaboration and Innovation. They predicted a 1.06% positivity rate for our initial screening, and the actual number was 1.08%. The IMCI team was pivotal in our preliminary screening and planning, and we continue to use their expertise as we transition to surveillance testing," said Green. "Now that we are beginning our fourth week of classes, I want to reflect on what we have accomplished together and outline the hard work that needs to continue for us to remain in person until Thanksgiving break."
Green is asking any students, faculty and staff who traveled over the Labor Day weekend to get tested for COVID-19. Green's memo says nurses from Gritman Medical Center will be at the Student Recreation Center Tuesday and Wednesday, September 15-16 to swab anyone who traveled over the holiday weekend.
Since the beginning of testing the university has housed a total of 31 students in a on-campus isolation area and currently have just four students residing there. Green says the university has audited and confirmed 100% testing compliance from students living in Housing and Residence Life. "In addition, the entries on the daily lists of students ineligible to attend class are dwindling as we settle into the semester. Faculty members recently helped the university move over 250 students from the list who still identified as needing to be tested, confirming with us that the students have made alternative arrangements, including participating in their classes remotely," says Green.
Researchers at the University of Idaho College of Engineering are also conducting wastewater sampling of eight locations on campus for early detection of COVID-19. Green says wastewater testing is one tool to help monitor on-campus residence halls and apartments, as well as Greek Row. The sampling prompted follow-up testing of students in two residence halls and identified six new positive cases.
"I am very appreciative of all the hard work to get us here, including all the preparation at centers and Extension offices across the state. But the work is not done. There are 10 more weeks until Thanksgiving break and we can’t let our guard down," said Green.