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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: What happens when you get Covid-19 at Knox?

    The+Pandemic+Pulse%3A+What+happens+when+you+get+Covid-19+at+Knox%3F

    New Weekly Covid-19 Update Column

     

    Hello Knox, 

    Welcome to the first week of the Knox Covid-19 Check-In. Each week I will give you a summary of how Knox College, Knox County, and the State of Illinois are doing. We’ll compare this to the previous week so you all can make the most well-informed decisions around your personal health and safety. Each week I will also answer questions about Covid-19 and how they relate to Knox. Have a Covid-19 question you want answered? Email it to [email protected]. Now, let’s get started. 

    First, a little background. Knox students are 95% fully vaccinated. The final 5% is made up of those who are only partially vaccinated, and students with medical or religious exemptions. In more specific numbers, 1140 of Knox’s 1200 students are vaccinated. Our staff has a lower vaccination rate, with 92.7% being fully vaccinated. The website does not indicate whether it has been updated to define fully vaccinated as boosted, but as the numbers have not shifted all year, I would assume not. 

    So, how, you might be wondering, are we going to measure the Covid-19 situation on and off-campus? I am going to be looking at a number called the ‘Test Positivity Rate’. This is the number of tests that week that were positive. When looking at the weekly Knox data, we will also look at the number of students in quarantine. 

    Knox data will come 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. 

    When analyzing test positivity I will use the same language as the Illinois Department of Public Health. 

    Minimal: Test positivity is less than 5%

    Moderate: Test positivity is between 5% and 8%

    Substantial: Test positivity is over 8%

    Beginning of Term

    In the first week of term (Jan. 4-8) 871 tests were administered on campus. Of these, 80 were positive. The week of Jan. 4-8 had a 9.2% test positivity. This is a substantial test positivity rate. Note that only about half of students and staff were on campus to conduct testing this week. The other half chose to stay home and work remotely for an additional week.

    In the second week of term (Jan 11-15) 683 tests were administered on campus. Of these, 49 were positive. The week of Jan. 11-15 had a 7.2% test positivity. This is a moderate test positivity rate. All students and staff should have arrived on campus and been tested at this point. 

    January 16-21

    This past week there was another round of required testing.  796 tests were administered on campus. Of these, 45 were positive. The week of Jan. 16-21 had a 5.6% test positivity. This is a moderate test positivity rate. As of Friday, Jan. 21 29 Knox students were in isolation on campus. 

    Last week Knox County had a test positivity rate of 19.4% compared to the week before which was 17.1%. This is a substantial test positivity rate. 

    The State of Illinois had a test positivity rate of 15.2% last week. This is a substantial test positivity rate. 

    These first three weeks do show a decline in on-campus positivity, and we are doing much better than the community as a whole. Hopefully, this trend continues. 

    Topic of the Week: What happens when you get Covid-19 at Knox? 

    We’ve all wondered it if might happen to us. You get the email that your test is ready and you feel just a twinge of panic, what if this time it’s positive? Then what? 

    According to Vice President of Communications Lisa Van Riper, the process is “pretty simple”. 

    You test positive. Immediately isolate yourself in your room. Now you’ll be waiting on a call from health services who will direct you to your isolation area. If you do not have a roommate, you are allowed to stay in your room. If your roommate also tests positive, it is likely you’ll be allowed to stay in your room. 

    While you wait to be directed to your isolation area, pack for about a week and a half; clothes, school work, toiletries, etc. 

    There are several ‘quaran-dorms’ on campus. Townhouses C and D, the basement of Elder, and an off-campus house owned by the college for overflow. 

    Once a day, between 5-6 pm, students in quarantine can pick up their meals in the Lincoln Room in Seymour. Students should enter and exit through the west door of the building to avoid contact with those who are not infected. At this time dinner, as well as breakfast, lunch, and snacks for the next day will be provided. 

    Students in quarantine are encouraged to leave their dorm and go on walks to get exercise and fresh air as long as they keep their distance from others. 

    If you have an asymptomatic case, you can resume normal activities seven days after you test positive, with your positive test date counted as day zero. If this doesn’t make sense, it can also be interpreted as 8 days after you test positive with the day your test came in being day one. 

    If you have an asymptomatic case of Covid-19, you can return to your dorm and classes seven days after your symptoms first appeared and when it has been at least 48 hours since you’ve had a fever. Again, the day your symptoms started is considered day zero. It is important to note that you cannot accurately measure this 48 hours if you are taking fever-reducing medication, like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil). So, if you think your symptoms are abating, go 48 hours without either of these medications to be sure. Be aware that many cold medicines have acetaminophen or ibuprofen in them. 

    Hopefully, this gives everyone an idea of what to expect if they test positive. Stay safe out there and email [email protected] with all your Covid-19 questions.

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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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