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The Knox Student

The Knox Student

The Pandemic Pulse: Update in State Tracking


Hello Knox, 

As a reminder, Knox data comes from the Knox Together Page, and these numbers include both staff and students. Data for the State of Illinois and Knox Country comes from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). 

Before going in to this weeks numbers, let’s talk about how Covid-19 tracking has changed recently. The CDC released new federal guidelines for tracking Covid-19 at the local level that the Illinois Department of Public Health has since adopted.

States will no longer be required to report the negative test results of rapid tests, only those that were performed in labs. And as a previous newsletter stated, there has been an increase in at-home testing. Both of these factors lead to test positivity no longer being an adequate measure of Covid-19 cases.

Now both the state and the federal governments will be looking at the case rate per 100,000 people in the past 7 days (this is calculated by dividing the new cases by the population and multiplying by 100,000), new admissions per 100,000 people in the past 7 days, and the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by Covid-19 patients.

“Test and case positivity rates were seen as a good way to monitor the level of community spread early in the pandemic,” IDPH Acting Director Amaal Tokars said. “At this stage, now that we have vaccines and effective therapies available, it is more useful to rely on data that indicates the case rate, disease severity and the level of strain on the healthcare system to guide our public health recommendations.”

I will follow the lead of the IDPH and shift how I explain the Covid-19 metrics in our area. Unfortunately I cannot calculate the case rate per 100,000 for Knox College as I don’t know the combined staff and student population.

I will no longer be reporting numbers for Galesburg. I will share the numbers for Knox County and the State of Illinois according to those three new metrics.

April 2 – April 7

Campus tested 306 people last week, slightly less than the week before. There were 9 positive Covid-19 tests. This leads to a test positivity of 2.9%. While this is still higher than the end of winter quarter it is below the 5% benchmark that must be surpassed for campus to reevaluate our policies.

Knox County reported a case rate per 100,000 of 13.7 (this number is not a percent, it is a unitless rate that can be compared to case rates in other areas). 26% of ICU beds are available. There have been 0 Covid-19 hospital admissions in the past week. 0 deaths have been reported.

The State of Illinois reported a case rate per 100,000 of 41.9. 24% of ICU beds are available. There have been 73 Covid-19 hospital admissions in the past week. 46 deaths have been reported this week.

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Eleanor Lindenmayer, Editor-In-Chief
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