COVID on campus

The COVID-19 variant is present in Eau Claire

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The news column “COVID on campus” posts relevant COVID-19 news every week for UWEC students.

COVID-19 is a virus with several variants that are active around the world. 

One such variant, which first was widely recognized in England in late 2020, has been present in Eau Claire County since January, according to WQOW.

According to WAOW, there are two more variant cases of COVID-19. However, the two people with these variant strains were not exposed to anyone who traveled internationally.

This has raised concerns among those vaccinated against COVID-19 that their current vaccines may not be effective against the other variants, especially those that have only received one dose of the vaccine. 

According to NPR, the two vaccines — from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — in use in the United States are recommended as a two-dose treatment. The effectiveness of the vaccine with one dose is unknown.

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are reportedly worried about those who receive the first dose of their vaccines not returning for a second one. The effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine does not occur until 12 days after the vaccination is received.

According to NPR, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine’s effectiveness rate of 92% is only assured if someone gets both doses.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises that for now, sticking with two doses is best. There is not enough data to support a change in the administration of vaccines to the public.

As of 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, there are three new positive cases of COVID-19 among the 358 on-campus UW-Eau Claire students tested, resulting in a positivity rate of 0.8%. No new staff cases or off-campus student cases were reported. 

According to the UW-Eau Claire COVID-19 dashboard, there have been 15,752 tests given since Jan. 25. Of those tests, 25 have been positive for COVID-19. 

As of Feb. 17, there are nine students in isolation on campus as well as 12 in quarantine. 

The Barron County data has no new positive test results since it was reported on Feb. 10. However, there have been 13 tests completed by Barron County students as well as 19 that were completed by staff and faculty. 

As of 2:15 p.m. on Feb. 15, the information from the Eau Claire City-County Health Department said there are 16 new positive student-connected cases of COVID-19 with no new staff cases reported yet. 

The amount of student-connected cases of COVID-19 since September of 2020 now rests at 1,053 cases, an increase of 16 cases since last week. Of the staff and faculty-connected cases, there are a total of 41 since September of 2020.

In Eau Claire County, there have been a total of 10,871 positive cases of COVID-19, an increase of 83 cases since last week. There have also been a total of 47,026 negative tests, according to the Eau Claire County Information Hub

Eau Claire County was the first county in Wisconsin to have variant cases of COVID-19, according to WQOW. Three of the five existing variant cases are in Eau Claire County.

Spierings can be reached at [email protected].