ASU community passes 3,000 cumulative COVID-19 cases since Aug. 1

Active COVID-19 cases have increased to 408 among students and employees

Active COVID-19 cases within the ASU community have spiked once again, and with it, cumulative cases have now passed 3,000 since Aug. 1, according to a University update Monday evening.

Cumulative cases now stand at 3,023, an increase of 138 since last Thursday's update. Students make up 2,870 cumulative cases, while employees represent 153 of those cumulative cases.

Active cases have increased by 61, resulting in a total of 408 within the community. Students account for 321 active cases, while employees account for 87, the highest reported number of active cases among employees and 29 more than the previous high.

There are 247 active cases among students off-campus in the metropolitan Phoenix area, and 62 students are isolating on the Tempe campus. A total of 12 active student cases are on Downtown Phoenix, West, or Polytechnic campuses. 

Arizona's Rt number — representing the average number of people who become infected by another person —  is at 1.14. The state's 7-day average positive test rate has risen to 18.66%, according to data from the Biodesign Critical COVID-19 trends page. The average positive testing rate in Maricopa County, where ASU's four main campuses are located, is slightly lower at 17.9%.

Data from the page also show that the number of COVID patients placed into hospital beds and intensive care units in the state is beginning to rise.

The University has collected approximately 136,177 tests from students and employees since Aug. 1. According to the update, it has tested 80% of on-campus students and 42% of off-campus students.

The ASU community's percent positivity rate is roughly 2.2%, 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 shows if the testing is effective.   

Random test results from Nov. 16-22 show 10 on-campus students tested positive, resulting in a positivity rate of 1.52%. Off-campus students who were selected for random testing returned 47 positives, resulting in a positivity rate of 1.98%. Seven employees tested positive through random testing during that period.

Internal tracking of Arizona Department of Health Services ZIP code data of the ZIP codes with ASU campuses — 85281, 85004, 85306 and 85212 along with the 85282 ZIP code in Tempe — done by The State Press shows cumulative cases have increased by 394 since Thursday. 

The biggest growth in cases since Thursday occurred in the two Tempe ZIP codes, with 149 new cases being reported in 85281 and 107 new cases in 85282. The 85212 ZIP code, where the Polytechnic campus is located, reported 89 new cases. Combined, the 85004 and 85306 ZIP codes reported 49 new cases.

"There has been about a 25% rise in the number of cases in Tempe in less than a month," a City of Tempe COVID-19 update said in an email Monday. "On Oct. 28, there were 6,790 total cases in Tempe's four zip codes. Today there are 8,431. Hospital ICU beds are scarce. Please take precautions for safety."  

Along with Tempe, cases within Arizona have begun to surge again in recent weeks. The ADHS reported 2,659 new cases of the coronavirus Monday.

A COVID-19 modeling report from ASU researchers projected that if case growth stays on its current path and with increased transmission resulting from holiday travel, "Arizona will likely surpass the prior July peak of hospital beds occupancy with COVID-19 patients" as soon as Dec. 28.

Public health measures — such as a state-wide mask mandate, gathering restrictions, closed bars and more — "will be necessary to control transmission and preserve healthcare capacity in Arizona," the report said.

"Without additional public health measures, holiday gatherings are likely to cause 600-1,200 additional deaths from COVID-19 in Arizona by February 1 beyond current scenario death projections," the report concluded.


Reach the reporter at wmyskow@asu.edu and follow @wmyskow on Twitter. 

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