Kent State reports zero COVID-19 cases on campus during week of Feb. 20

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Screenshot of Coronavirus Dashboard

reported cases covid dashboard 3.1.22

Joshua Bailey Reporter

After several months of a rise in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant, reported cases on campus dropped over 85 percent since the start of the spring semester.

On Feb. 20, Kent State reported zero cases of the virus on main campus since Feb. 13.

During the week of Feb. 13, 706 people, both symptomatic and asymptomatic, were tested for COVID-19 through Visit Healthcare and the DeWeese Health Center.

Only 24 tested positive during that week. At the beginning of the semester, there were 161 positive cases on campus. 

As of Feb. 23, 361 cases have been reported this semester. 

While the number of positive cases remains significantly low compared with last year, the availability of at-home testing has made keeping track of cases on campus difficult.

At-home testing kits, such as the BinaxNow and QuickVue testing kits, have become increasingly available over the past few months. Students, staff and faculty can pick up free test kits at locations across campus.

Cases on the dashboard do not include at-home testing results. Unlike tests administered through Visit Healthcare, someone must call the COVID-19 Hotline to report a positive at-home COVID test. Any student or staff member who tests positive using the university testing facilities will automatically have contact tracing completed for them.

Unreported positive cases from at-home testing make contact tracing difficult for COVID-19 Response Team personnel. Students are responsible for alerting their instructors and classmates of possible exposure. 

Along with low case counts, vaccination rates on campus also show signs of improvement. Rates among students increased by roughly 5 percent as of Feb. 6. Currently, over 80 percent of students on Kent State’s main campus are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Across all campuses, COVID-19 vaccination rates among students rose over 5 percent since Jan. 26.

On Feb. 25, the Center for Disease Control released new guidelines for wearing face masks. The new guidelines include a three-level risk factor. Green is the least risk and red is the highest risk, according to the CDC. In Portage County, the community level is low, which means masks are optional.

In an email sent to students and faculty, the university said it would review the guidelines and release more information soon. The Pandemic Leadership Committee will meet Thursday, March 3 to review the current policies.

Kent State’s Coronavirus dashboard is updated weekly unless otherwise noted. For more information, visit kent.edu/coronavirus.

Joshua Bailey is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]