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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student


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The Pandemic Pulse: New Year, New Policies, New Numbers


Hello Knox, 

COVID-19 testing is going to look a little different on campus this year. Knox will no longer be randomly selecting students for testing. Instead, testing will be focused on those with symptoms. 

“The shift now as directed by the CDC is toward testing those who are symptomatic or exposed. We are offering this type of testing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 am to noon at Health Services,”  Director of Health Services Abby Putnam said. 

However, all students were required to test on arrival, so let’s break down those numbers. According to Putnam, faculty and staff were not asked to test at the beginning of this year, so it can be assumed that most, if not all, reported tests are from students. 

893 tests were done from Aug. 1 to Sept. 23, 2022. This covers all arrival testing, as well as the first two weeks of class. Knox currently has 1053 students enrolled – though that number would have been higher in those first few weeks – meaning that at least 160 students did not get tested. 

Many students did have COVID-19 over summer, making them exempt from arrival testing. Putnam said that, “quite a few,” students reported a COVID-19 infection this summer, but did not give an exact number. 

Let’s circle back to those 893 tests. Of those tests, 23 were positive, putting the first month and a half of students on campus at a 2.5% test positivity. If we remember our metrics from last year, that puts us at a minimal test positivity. This rate is lower than most of Spring Term ‘22, but higher than the second half of Winter Term ‘22 after the initial outbreak last January. 

We can also compare these numbers to Knox County rates. The State of Illinois no longer tracks test positivity, instead using daily case rate per 100,000 population. This is basically the average number of cases per 100,000 people. We can translate the Knox numbers into this metric as well. 

The Knox County case rate per 100,000 people is eight, meaning on average only eight people for every 100,000 people have COVID-19 in Knox County. When you solve for the Knox College case rate per 100,000, we find that on average 40 people on campus would have COVID-19 for every 100,000. 40 compared to 8 sounds dramatically different, but 40 out of 100,000 is still quite small, only 0.04% of the population. 

It is worth noting that for both Knox College and Knox County, these numbers are of reported tests. Currently most people prefer to test at home and, as most cases are mild, they are not reported to doctors or the government. 

All these figures show that case rates are low, both on campus and in the surrounding area. However, students showing any symptoms, even if it is likely just a cold, are highly encouraged to get tested at Health Services. Testing is available on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 9am to noon. 

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About the Contributor
Eleanor Lindenmayer
Eleanor Lindenmayer, Editor-In-Chief
Eleanor Lindenmayer '25 (she/her) is a journalism major. She started working for TKS as a staff writer when she was in her first year. She has also worked as the discourse editor and is now the Editor-in-Chief. Eleanor has also been published at Tri States Public Radio, where she was an intern and a freelancer. Eleanor was born and raised in the pacific northwest and will argue that there is no better place on this earth. Awards Illinois College Press Association 2024
  • 1st Place In Depth Reporting
  • 1st Place News
  • 1st Place Feature
Illinois College Press Association 2023
  • 2nd Place Columns
  • Honorable Mention Columns
Knox College 2023 Ida M. Tarbell Memorial Prize For Investigative Reporting    

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