COVID on campus

Oludare Obadiya

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

As of this week, the vaccination rate of UW-Eau Claire students has reached 82.7%, according to the UW-Eau Claire COVID-19 Dashboard, bringing the overall number of students who uploaded vaccine cards to 7,833 as of Nov. 18.

The dashboard also shows in the week leading up to Nov. 23 that there were no new cases out of 112 tests administered to on-campus UW-Eau Claire students. The same data is shown for the 21 faculty and staff tests that were taken in the same time frame. 

However, there was one positive out of 251 tests taken among off-campus students. 

The Barron County campus had 10 antigen tests administered to both students and faculty members, and all came back negative, according to the COVID-19 dashboard. 

The Eau Claire City-County Health Department COVID-19 Situation Report for Nov. 19 said the vaccination rate in the County of Eau Claire sits at just over 56%. 

The report also shows there were 377 new COVID-19 cases confirmed for the week of Nov. 19, making a 15.1% increase in cases compared to the number of confirmed cases in the week prior. 

The vaccination progress among children ages 5 to 11 has yet to be added, but the report continues to note the lower vaccination rates among African American, Indigenous and rural communities. 

On Nov. 16, the UW-Eau Claire chancellor’s office sent an email informing students that the mask mandate is being extended to the end of the calendar year. The full announcement can be seen here. 

Edward Stowell, a second-year history education student, said he uses announcements like these and tools like the COVID -19 Dashboard to stay up to date with the state of the virus on campus.

“I’d say I do my best,” Stowell said. “I check about every other week to see how cases are doing. I would say I keep up with the city of Eau Claire in general, as well,” he said. 

This is the second time the university’s mandate has been extended. The first extension was released on Oct. 1.

“I support masks,” Stowell said. “I would say extending the mandate was a good call given where we were at as a country and where the state of Wisconsin is at.” 

Miranda Ricci, a fourth-year organizational communications student, said she likes the university’s approach of reassessing the mandate every couple months or so. 

“I personally feel it’s alright. … It just gives them another month to reassess things and see if it’s still necessary,” she said. 

As seen in the announcement, The Chancellor’s office says the mask mandate will remain until Dec. 31. It will be reassessed based on a few criteria such as the return of community transmission to a moderate rate and getting assurance from local health departments.

For further information about COVID-19 on the UW-Eau Claire campus, information is available on their webpage

Obadiya can be reached at ob[email protected]