UA sees 858 new COVID-19 cases in one week


Keely Brewer | @keelykbrewer, Assistant News Editor

In its third update since launching on Aug 24., the UA System COVID-19 Dashboard reported 1,910 total positive test results since classes started. 

There have been 858 reported positive test results since its previous update last Friday. 

Student tests comprised 846 of these positive tests in the last week. The remaining 12 are attributed to faculty and staff. 

This figure includes all positive results reported to the University aside from entry testing.

“The data across the System’s three campuses show that the UA System Health & Safety Plan is working,” dean of UA’s College of Community Health Science Richard Friend said. 

He said this figure represents a decline in daily averages since the last report. Yesterday, he said, 65 students tested positive. 

A UA System press release said the low number of faculty and staff positives shows “there is no evidence of COVID transmission in the classroom setting.” 

On-campus isolation spaces have reached about 40% occupancy. The University increased isolation facilities by relocating students living in Burke West Residence Hall, which is now being used to house COVID-19 positive students, along with The Highlands and Bryce Lawn Apartments. 

Sentinel testing begins next week, and updates will be included in subsequent weekly updates. 

This random sampling of asymptomatic students, faculty and staff is intended to help the University respond to outbreaks through data collection of about 3% of the campus population each week. Sentinel testing will be voluntary for most, and strongly encouraged for others. 

Dr. Mike Saag and Dr. Selwyn Vickers, two medical professionals endorsed by the UA System Health and Safety Task Force, cautioned against the closure of universities on Sep. 2. 

“There is a strong feeling among public health and infectious disease experts that it is safer to keep students on a college campus where there is COVID-19 spread rather than closing campus and sending students home en masse,” Saag said.