A week after students departed from campus, the College’s COVID-19 Dashboard has not reported any new COVID-19 cases. There is currently one student in isolation at Kenyon, while four students are in quarantine either at home or on campus.
The latest wastewater sample, taken on Monday, Nov. 23, showed that there was no virus detected in the Gambier wastewater. However, it is unclear from this data whether cases in Gambier have increased; there are currently six people in isolation, and 39 of the 46 total cases have recovered.
Knox County is in its third consecutive week of red alert, which indicates very high incidence and spread. According to Knox Public Health, there are 197 active cases in Knox County with 30 people hospitalized. A total of 38 people have died from COVID-19 in the county.
This comes as the state death toll has continued to increase in recent weeks, with the Ohio Department of Health reporting 123 deaths between Tuesday and Wednesday. While daily cases have levelled off, four counties, including Franklin County, are currently colored purple, signifying the highest alert level. According to the Columbus Dispatch, on Thursday Gov. Mike DeWine is expected to announce the final distribution plan for the vaccines set to arrive in two weeks, as well as an updated list of county alerts.
After maintaining a low case count during the fall semester, the College saw a significant increase in COVID-19 cases on-campus just before the end of the residential program, with three students testing positive in the two weeks before break. Director of the Cox Health and Counseling Center Chris Smith said that the four students in quarantine were allowed to finish their isolation periods at home, provided they did not use public transportation. Smith also noted that the College tested a majority of the students prior to their departure, but 93 students did not complete their final tests before leaving campus, though he did not specify why this was.
Should case levels increase during the winter break period, Smith said that the College will increase COVID-19 testing and implement a quiet period for those who are still on campus. Currently, those on campus will only be tested once in December and again in January.
President Sean Decatur indicated that the College’s spring semester plans will remain in place, and that the College will continue to follow guidance from state and county health officials as to how to proceed. He said they plan to reevaluate the spring semester plans in the first week of January, noting that the College will adhere to directives from the governor.
“We will continue to follow the state of the world as it changes,” he said.
Kenyon’s COVID-19 Dashboard will be updated regularly until the end of the semester on Dec. 18. It will resume posting updates on Jan. 11.