On-campus positivity rate falls below 5 percent

(Infographic by Kaylie McLaughlin | Collegian Media Group)

As Kansas State reaches the mid-semester mark, COVID-19 positivity rates on campus and in the community continue to decline.

For the week of Sept. 28, K-State recorded 35 positives out of 739 administered tests, yielding a positivity rate below 5 percent. This decline is part of a weeks-long downward trend initiated after cases spiked early in the semester. During the week of Aug. 24, on-campus testing revealed a 26.79 percent positivity rate.

At the time, Lafene Health Center’s medical director Dr. Kyle Goerl predicted local COVID-19 cases and other metrics would begin to decline.

“When the virus gets into a community, it tends to escalate fast — especially in a situation where there’s so much close connection amongst individuals like a collegiate population,” Goerl said. “The virus essentially hits a saturation point where its ability to spread slows dramatically, simply due to the number of people that got infected.”

In Riley County, the percent positivity rate reached 9.4 percent during the same period after 109 positives returned out of 1,159 total tests. Though up from the previous week, the percent positivity is lower than it was a matter a weeks ago when it peaked in the ballpark of 30 percent.

“Like many of you, I’m relieved to see our percent positive continuing to drop,” local health officer Julie Gibbs said in her weekly COVID-19 update.

Most of the nearly 2,000 cases reported in the county — about 77 percent — were reported in individuals aged 18 to 24.

“It’s also reassuring to know that many individuals who have tested positive have mostly mild symptoms, and this in turn does not place a burden on our health care system,” Gibbs said.

Right now, one COVID-19 positive patient remains hospitalized at Ascension Via Christi hospital in Manhattan. On Wednesday, Riley County reported its ninth COVID-19 related fatality after a male patient in his 70s passed away.

My name is Kaylie McLaughlin and I'm the managing editor and audience engagement manager of the Collegian. Previously, I've been the editor-in-chief and the news editor. In the past, I have also contributed to the Royal Purple Yearbook and KKSU-TV. Off-campus, you can find my bylines in the Wichita Eagle, the Shawnee Mission Post and KSNT News. I grew up just outside of Kansas City in Shawnee, Kansas. I’m a senior in digital journalism with a minor in French and a secondary focus in international and area studies. As a third-generation K-Stater, I bleed purple and my goal is to serve the Wildcat community with accurate coverage.