COVID-19 cases compared


Rachel Greene , Editor-in-chief

The number of COVID-19 cases on the Western Illinois University Macomb Campus continues to drop with each passing week of classes.

When the Western Illinois University COVID-19 Dashboard was last published in an edition of the Western Courier, the amount of active cases for residential students on the Macomb Campus was 18 and non-residential students on the Macomb Campus was five. As of Tuesday night, however, the amount of cases had dropped to just one active case among residential students and zero active cases among non residential students.

As of Tuesday night, Illinois State University had three new cases, the University of Illinois had 42 new cases, Northern Illinois University had 16 new cases, Eastern Illinois University had 41 new cases and Southern Illinois University had five new cases. These cases represent the on-campus student population.

In comparison to other Midwestern universities, Western is doing the same or better in terms of stopping the spread of the virus. In researching other Midwestern universities’ COVID-19 Dashboards, Western Illinois University is on the low end of the spectrum in terms of new and active cases. The data from all of these schools, however, may not be entirely comparable. Western Illinois University has made testing elective. Other schools, like the University of Illinois, test more students more frequently. There, it is required that all students get tested twice a week. In comparison, testing at Western Illinois University is optional and depends on the willingness of students to subject themselves to testing. Other schools, like Northern Illinois University, required on campus students to test no more than seven days prior to moving in, requiring them to show a negative result to move in. Northern Illinois University students are also required to test when selected at random.

While the data is readily available on the dashboard website for each institution, it remains a challenge to compare any schools when each one has such a different protocol for handling COVID-19. Some schools have mandatory testing, which consequently leads to their percentage of cases being higher. Other schools boast a low percentage of tests, but this is from a much more limited testing pool and does not guarantee that the campus is COVID-19 free. In addition, some schools input data each day, while others’ information is updated weekly.