Active COVID-19 cases within the ASU community decrease to 360 cases

The University has reported 1,610 cumulative cases since Aug. 1

There are 360 total active positive COVID-19 cases within the ASU community as of Sept. 16, according to an update posted online by the University Thursday night. Active students have decreased to 355 and active employee cases have decreased to five. 

The total number of active cases dropped by 126 since Monday's update, when the University reported 486 total active cases.

There are 259 cases off campus in the metropolitan Phoenix area and 88 are in isolation on the Tempe campus. The other eight student cases are in isolation on the Downtown Phoenix, West and Polytechnic campuses. 

Since Aug. 1, there have been 1,580 known students who have tested positive for the coronavirus and 30 employees, a total of 1,610 ASU community members. The cumulative student positive case number has increased by 111 since an update Monday. 

ASU has collected approximately 57,629 tests since Aug. 1 from students and employees. The school community's percent positivity rate stands at roughly 2.7% when using the number of cumulative cases as the numerator and the number of tests as the denominator. 

If someone takes a test outside of ASU's testing, it is only recommended they report results to the University, per the University FAQ page.

The University is calculating the percentage of the population that is confirmed positive, using the number of current positives as the numerator and the total population of students or employees as the denominator.

The University reported Thursday 1,403 students and 148 employees had been rolled off the positive case number after meeting benchmarks to return to campus. Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that influence University policy do not require those who test positive for the virus to test negative before rejoining the community. 

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ said in a blog post Thursday that over the coming days, "Arizona will be adding a significantly higher number of cases than our recent average" because they will begin including antigen testing for COVID-19 in the total amount of cases.

Christ said antigen testing results are typically "available at the testing site in less than an hour," but the tests "may not be as accurate or able to run as many patient samples per day." 

The antigen tests were previously only counted in the state's total when a positive antigen test could be confirmed to have been in contact with another person who had tested positive for the coronavirus, Christ said.

The state is now "expanding how we define cases to include anyone with a positive antigen test in the probable case category, which is consistent with the recently updated national case definition for COVID-19 from the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists," Christ said.

A University spokesperson said the school has been submitting data to the state daily and understand reporting Thursday from the state as "test results that the department did not previously report, dating back to cases in July and August, the majority of which represent ASU's public and partner testing sites."

ADHS reported an increase of 1,753 positive COVID-19 cases and 38 more deaths in Arizona, bringing the state total to 211,660 positive cases and 5,409 deaths across the state. 

The state's Rt, the number of people who would become infected by someone infectious, is at 0.94 as of Thursday. Values under one signify a decline of spread within a community.

No operational changes were part of Thursday's update, so students did not receive an email update from the University about the case numbers. University housing is still open with no external visitor policies and classes are still taking place through ASU Sync.

The next update is expected to be posted next Monday and will reflect case numbers from Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

Clarification: This story was updated on Sept. 18 at 9:20 a.m. to clarify how the University calculates its rate of confirmed positives.


Reach the reporters at pjhanse1@asu.edu and wmyskow@asu.edu and follow @piperjhansen and @wmyskow on Twitter. 

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