COVID-19 cases rising on Illinois State University’s campus; officials encourage testing

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NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — A COVID-19 outbreak on the campus of Illinois State University as the school is continuing to see case numbers rise.

Around 25% of new cases reported in McLean County are coming from the campus of Illinois State. In the last seven days, 24% of COVID-19 test have come back positive on the campus. School officials say they are doing everything within their power to stop the spread on campus, it’s now up to students being responsible off campus.

In the past week, 699 Illinois State students and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 and 972 total tests have come back as positive. Eric Jome media relations director at Illinois State said it’s something the university is taking seriously.

“We want to be able to find out these kinds of numbers and it’s a concern and university administration is watching it closely,” Jome said.

Jome said the campus is enforcing mask wearing inside buildings and social distancing and said he wants students to think of others’ safety.

“These guidelines in the community and on-campus are in place for everybody’s safety; individuals and entire community,” Jome said.

While students are being enforced while on-campus, Jome said they can’t make them abide by regulations off-campus and hopes students choose to do so on their own.

“We can enforce that on campus and we have gotten good cooperation so it’s the off campus element we’re really urging everybody when you leave campus to follow those same guidelines,” Jome said.

Illinois State student Kyra Feltz said no matter what the university does, students will still find a way to break the rules.

“No matter where you go there’s going to be parties at college,” Feltz said. “I think it’s ridiculous to assume everyone is going to stop partying.”

Luis Catalan an Illinois State student said the school is handling the pandemic well, but it’s a team effort to flatten the curve.

“I know I try to stay inside as much as possible unless I’m going out to work, but I’ll come by here whenever I’m riding my bike and see students walking around at night going to parties,” Catalan said.

Jome says students should get tested if they’ve been in large gatherings or believe they’ve been exposed. He said it’s an easy process.

“It’s very easy. It’s walk-up testing so students can walk up and show their ID and get tested,” Jome said.

Catalan said he was tested on Monday and said the process didn’t take long. He urges his fellow students to get a test as well.

“It’s two minutes of discomfort versus possibly something that could threaten people’s lives so just like take it,” Catalan said.

Students can get tested at the Bone Center on campus or the old fire house on Adelaide Street just off campus.

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