BYU officials say COVID situation on the mend

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BYU students walk past the Brigham Young statue on the North side of campus. COVID-19 cases among the campus community are starting to decrease, according to BYU officials. (Preston Crawley)

BYU seems to have a better handle on the COVID-19 pandemic after Utah County students made headlines as being the driving force behind the state’s positive case surge.

The school is currently reporting 130 active cases, down from a high of 470 cases on Sept. 25 and 285 cases last week.

BYU Risk Management Managing Director Branden Wilson sent an email to students and staff Oct 7. praising the shift towards fewer cases.

“The trends we’re seeing at BYU are encouraging,” Wilson said. “This decline in cases is real, and the decline is not a result of a decrease in testing or a decrease in receiving reported test results.”

The email comes about two weeks after BYU President Kevin J Worthen and UVU President Astrid S. Tuminez sent a letter to students warning that if COVID cases did not go down, further safety restrictions, including an early return to online classes, would be necessary.

Wilson said the response to this admonition was effective. “We are grateful to each of you for your positive response. It is vital that we maintain these efforts and behaviors to prevent another spike and to continue the decrease in active cases.”

Dr. Keith Willmore, the medical director of BYU’s Student Health Center, has seen this improvement firsthand. He said the rate of positive coronavirus tests has dropped from about 25% to 10% even though the center hasn’t diminished the number of tests it administers.

“I think we had this surge at the beginning just because we had so many people coming in all over the country,” Willmore said. “But now people are really being careful and I think it’s working, so I think some kudos to the student body and to our employees are
well deserved.”

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