Active cases of COVID-19 within ASU community increase slightly

The University reports it has now collected test results from more than 100,000 students and employees

Active COVID-19 cases increased by five to a total of 86 within the ASU community, according to an update from the University Thursday night. 

Since Monday's update, active cases among students increased by four to a total of 74, and active cases among employees increased by one to a total of 12. 

There are 64 active cases among students off campus in the metropolitan Phoenix area, and 10 students are in isolation on the Tempe campus. No active student cases are on the Downtown Phoenix, West or Polytechnic campuses. 

There have been 2,129 cumulative cases within the ASU community since Aug. 1. Students make up 2,075 of those cumulative cases, and employees make up 54. Cumulative cases increased by 28 since Monday when the University reported there had been 2,101 cumulative cases. 

At a briefing Thursday with Gov. Doug Ducey, Arizona Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ said health officials are still on high alert, but dealing with the virus over the summer left hospitals and labs ready for another surge of cases. 

Christ said she anticipates seeing a spike in infections about two weeks following Thanksgiving. Cases will likely continue to increase into the new year, she said 

There was no announcement of new methods to stop the spread at the briefing. 

The ADHS reported Thursday there had been 1,315 new infections and 13 additional deaths, bringing the state totals to 242,480 cases and 5,918 deaths. 

Joshua LaBaer, executive director at ASU's Biodesign Institute, said at a briefing Wednesday that infections are now increasing as they did in June but at a slower rate.

"We have been in a constant rise over the past three to four weeks. Pretty much since the end of September," LaBaer said. 

The U.S. set a new record for reported cases of the coronavirus this week, breaking 500,000 recorded infections over seven days. On Thursday, the U.S. recorded more than 88,000 new cases of COVID-19. Over the last two weeks, half of the country's states have broken their own records for highest daily cases. 

Arizona is experiencing fewer new cases and hospitalizations than other states, yet it is still "in a position right now where we need to be vigilant and keep our guard up," Ducey said. 

Current hospitalizations in the U.S. rose to over 46,000 this week, too – not quite the peak of nearly 60,000 from the summer but a significant increase from last month. 

The University has collected approximately 102,373 tests from students and employees since Aug. 1. According to the update, it has tested 73% of on-campus students and 33% of off-campus students. 

The University does not specify in updates if there have been any hospitalizations or deaths within the ASU community. 

The ASU community's percent positivity rate is roughly 2.1%, using the cumulative number of positive results as the numerator and the total number of tests collected as the denominator. 

The percent positivity rate represents the level of transmission of the virus and if the testing in a particular area is effective.

Reach the reporter at and follow @piperjhansen on Twitter. 

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