Ohio State President: COVID-19 numbers trending in ‘wrong direction’

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State University President Dr. Kristina Johnson sent an email to students, faculty and staff saying COVID-19 numbers are trending in the wrong direction.

On Tuesday, OSU released its COVID-19 dashboard with data through Saturday that showed a student positivity rate of 1.16%.

On Thursday, university data had the student positivity rate at 3.10%.

Data released Friday shows the daily positivity rate among students jumped to 3.74% for Aug. 26, when 82 students were confirmed to have tested positive for the virus in a 24-hour period.

Overall, 366 student have tested positive for the virus, according to data released by OSU Friday.

“But it’s not just the positivity rate that is of concern; it’s also the rate of transmission,” Dr. Johnson said. “If we want to continue to stay on campus, we have to prevent the spread of the virus.”

Johnson listed the following steps that must be taken to stop the spread:

  • Behave as though everyone is a potential carrier of the virus.
  • Wear your mask properly, over nose, mouth and chin.
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart, even when dining.
  • Outside of class, limit in-person contact with individuals other than your roommates.
  • Do not host or attend parties or gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • If you are in contact with people outside your household, mask up and maintain physical distancing.
  • Wash your hands throughout the day and follow all other safe and healthy guidance.
  • Fully cooperate with the university and department of health contact tracing team if you have a positive test or are a close contact of someone with a positive test.

“If we are to continue in-person instruction and on-campus activities, including residential life, we all must double down on our efforts in every facet of our work and daily life on and off campus,” Dr. Johnson said.

A number of students said they are concerned about the future of the fall semester, and they are worried that campus may once again be closed.

“I feel like it’s just a matter of time — you know when, not if, which is unfortunate,” said Kyle Davis.

NBC4 brought these concerns to OSU spokesperson Ben Johnson who issued the following statement:

“The university recognizes the need for contingency plans, and we are preparing for a variety of situations. Both prior to COVID-19 and as a response to it, Ohio State has developed a strong capacity for online operations and we continue to build on those capacities. We decided to resume in-person teaching and learning this semester based on a variety of factors, some involving COVID and others based on the evidence that we can support our students best when they have access to all of the university’s resources. Likewise, any decision about adjusting our plans will be made on the totality of the facts, in consultation with public health authorities, and based on the latest science and data. The health and safety of our community continues to be our top priority. As we have from the beginning, we will continue to closely monitor a number of different indicators, follow guidance from local, state and federal authorities and continue to consult with our own experts to make decisions in this fluid environment.”

OSU Spokesman Ben Johnson

Coronavirus in Ohio resources:

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