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As OSU COVID-19 rate climbs to nearly 6%, students must act fast to protect themselves

As OSU COVID-19 rate climbs to nearly 6%, students must act fast to protect themselves

Nicholas Youngblood

The Ohio State University’s most recent COVID-19 testing data found that 5.86% of students tested for COVID-19 on Thursday, Aug. 27 were positive. The data, released Aug. 29, paints a dire picture for the future of in-person classes at the university.

The data represents a rapid increase in positive tests since the university began testing students Aug. 14. According to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard, from Aug. 14-27, just 2.15% of students on campus tested positive,.

In a letter released on Aug. 27, Ohio State president Kristina Johnson warned students that rising rates are concerning, saying: “Over the last 24 hours, we have seen the student positivity rate rise to 3.10%. But it’s not just the positivity rate that is of concern; it’s also the rate of transmission.”

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The updated rates come as Ohio State rolls out the next phase in its testing procedures: random testing of students living off-campus. Students will be notified by the Office of Student Life if they have been selected and must schedule a time to get tested at the Jesse Owens North Recreation Center.

In early August, before classes began, Johnson insisted that Franklin County must drive its positivity rate well below 5.5% if students were to stay on campus. While Franklin County infection rates have fallen enough to move the county from a level 3 public emergency to level 2 on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, the university’s positivity rate has continued to rise.

In an Aug. 27 statement, Johnson offered actions students can take to prevent further spread of the virus, including:

  • Behave as though everyone is a potential carrier of the virus.
  • Wear your mask properly, over your nose, mouth and chin.
  • Stay at least six feet apart, even when dining.
  • Outside of class, limit in-person contact with individuals other than your roommates.
  • Do not host or attend parties or gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • If you are in contact with people outside your household, mask up and maintain physical distancing.
  • Wash your hands throughout the day, and follow all other safe and healthy guidance.
  • Fully cooperate with the university and department of health contact tracing team if you have a positive test or are a close contact of someone with a positive test.

More information and the latest updates from the university can be found at safeandhealthy.osu.edu.

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