USU COVID-19 team keeping track of cases while students are home

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LOGAN — A COVID-19 response team at Utah State University has been working to keep an eye on cases of the virus as students prepare to come back to campus.

The campus is mostly empty now, but the response team at Utah State would like to have as good an idea as possible what to expect when students come back on Jan. 19.

And to do that, they'll need some help from the students who are currently at home.

There's not a lot of activity at the walk-up testing center on-campus right now, though many more tests will be happening on campus before long.

In the meantime, the COVID-19 containment team said they're hoping to keep up-to-date of any cases back home.

"We've kind of developed a good culture up here through the fall semester with the self-reporting system that we implemented at the start of the fall semester this year," said Ellis Bruch, director of emergency management.

Bruch said a number of students are using that system now from home to report positive cases. That kind of knowledge can help his team as thousands return for the spring semester.

"So we really want to have track of that, so we don't have to quarantine somebody that we don't need to," he said.

Consider that just last September, a relatively small amount of cases resulted in hundreds quarantined in the dorms, so knowing who might be immune can help eliminate some of that legwork.

"When they return back, the CDC has implemented the 90-day where they're not required to have quarantine 90 days after having the virus," said Bruch.

The big concern will be whether there could be a spike in activity after the holidays, something Bruch said they'll watch for as everyone comes back.

"We're still in the pandemic, the vaccine is just now starting to roll out, so we have to be vigilant in our efforts to prevent the spread," he said.

USU also offers help to students who are quarantined or test positive while in the campus community with stuff like getting groceries delivered and resources to continue learning from home.

Mass testing of the returning students will happen at the Eccles Conference Center, starting Jan. 19.

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Mike Anderson
Mike Anderson often doubles as his own photographer, shooting and editing most of his stories. He came to KSL in April 2011 after working for several years at various broadcast news outlets.


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