NIU coronavirus cases nearly double over four-day weekend with 73 new cases; total rises to 150

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DeKALB – The number of reported COVID-19 cases on the Northern Illinois University campus nearly doubled over the four-day weekend, as the school reported 73 new cases, bringing the total to 150.

The school also reported 18 new recoveries, bringing the total to 24. The data represents cases of the viral respiratory disease identified on campus since Friday.

All 73 new cases were in students. The school hasn't reported a case in an employee since Sept. 1, and just three cases have been reported in employees.

According to the school, 31.4% of its quarantine and isolation areas are in use, down from 54% Friday.

The university welcomed students back to campus Aug. 19 and classes began Aug. 24. Students living on campus were required to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to move-in. NIU reported that of the 2,037 tested prior to move-in, 39 tested positive and the university will welcome them back once their quarantine period is over.

The school also reported that one of the 73 new cases came from its surveillance testing program, which tested 231 students last week. Beginning Sept. 2, the program tests about 125 students a day at random, an attempt to better assess and catch viral outbreaks on campus more quickly to mitigate continued community spread. The positivity rate last week was 0.4%.

Although specific surveillance testing results will be reported weekly on Monday, positive tests produced from the program will be included in daily statistics.

Daily COVID-19 case data from the DeKalb County Health Department may not reflect daily data from NIU because some students or employees may live outside the county and still test positive for the virus.

NIU staff are encouraged to get tested via state testing sites or their health care provider on their own. Students living off campus in Greek housing and otherwise also are not required to get tested, although anyone experiencing symptoms is asked to remain at home.

Students living on campus pay a $7.90 per credit hour health fee to use nasal swab testing services at Northwestern Medicine Student Health Center in the Health Services Building on campus.