University of Iowa reports 53 new positive COVID-19 cases


Jenna Galligan

The Old Capitol is seen on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

Rachel Steil, News Reporter

The University of Iowa has reported 53 new cases of COVID-19 since Sept. 7, a marked decline after weeks of new self-reported cases numbering into the hundreds on the UI campus. That total included Labor Day weekend — when there was less testing statewide due to Test Iowa site closures. There has been a total of 1,642 self-reported positive cases from UI employees and students since the start of the semester. 

Since Sept. 7, 52 students and one employee self-reported positive cases. In the residence halls, nine students are in quarantine and 73 students are in isolation. 

As of Sept. 9, Iowa City is ranked at 20 on a New York Times list of metro areas with the greatest number of new cases relative to their population, down from the second top spot two weeks ago. There are 3.4 cases per 1,000 people in Iowa City. Johnson County is currently reporting 4,617 positive cases since the pandemic began.

Cases have declined in Johnson County in the third week since classes resumed. Johnson County reported 49 new cases in a 24-hour period ending Wednesday at 11 a.m., down from a peak of 267 cases reported Aug. 28. But the daily positivity rate remains at about 20 percent, according to numbers kept by The Daily Iowan.

“While it is certainly not time to celebrate, it should be acknowledged that, as a community, we have considerably slowed the spread of the disease,” the email stated.

The UI shared a video featuring UI epidemiologist, Dr. Jorge Salinas, explaining what the community needs to avoid and what the community needs to do. Salinas instructs people to avoid closed spaces, crowded places, and close contact. He recommends that people wear their masks, watch their distance, and wash their hands. 

In the email to students, the UI wrote that the data also shows that the spread of the disease is not occurring in UI classrooms, citing a total of 21 faculty and staff who’ve self-reported as positive. With more than 12,000 employees, the number of positive cases represents an infection rate of less than 0.16 percent.

The UI cited mitigation measures for the decrease in cases, such as mandated face coverings, instructor zones, using plexiglass, changes in air filtration, and changes in traffic patterns in buildings as reasons the rate of positive cases among faculty was lower than student cases. No deaths have been reported due to COVID-19 on campus.