The University of Cincinnati (UC) recorded a total 27 weekly positive cases among students and employees for the week of Oct. 25, according to preliminary public health data. 

Of the total 328 COVID-19 screening tests conducted from Oct. 23 – 29, just six tests came back positive, according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard. That’s a weekly positivity rate of 1.83%.

The university’s weekly testing positivity rate remains well below that of the surrounding area. Hamilton County’s positivity rate was 6.24% and the statewide positivity rate was 9.07% over that same period, data shows.

“I don't think we have ever been even half of what the community positivity rate is, which speaks volumes as far as the process we’ve put in place and the responsibility of our campus members,” Dr. Dustin Calhoun, chair of UC’s COVID-19 Response Team, said during a recent Faculty Senate meeting. 

The university’s COVID-19 dashboard largely represents the mandatory screening tests conducted among unvaccinated residential students, which is the highest risk population on campus. 

Students are required to self-report if exposed to someone with COVID-19, are experiencing symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19. Those experiencing symptoms can schedule an appointment for testing at one of the university’s symptomatic testing locations. 

The university has implemented several changes to its pandemic policies and procedures for fall semester, including the adoption of a universal indoor mask mandate and COVID-19 vaccine requirement. 

Students, faculty and staff who are not already fully vaccinated were required to get their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 15, with those receiving a two-dose vaccine required to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 15. 

More than half (56%) of Hamilton County’s total population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 60.2% of the population has at least one dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There are 13 counties in Greater Cincinnati that are still designated as areas with high community transmission based on CDC levels, though incidence are trending downward, according to regional public health data released Thursday. 

While community transmission remains high across the region, health officials said the region has “seen some stabilization in case numbers this past week.”

“The number of COVID positive patients in hospital and ICU beds has plateaued and remains quite high,” officials said. “Hospitals remain quite strained with a total of 94% normally staffed regional hospital beds in use and 94% of normally staffed ICU beds in use.”

According to last week’s data, there were 314 confirmed COVID-19-positive patients in the region’s hospitals. Of those, 106 were in intensive care and 74 were on ventilators. 

Among the positive patients in ICUs across the region, health officials are tracking a seven-day moving average of 78% on ventilators. 

“Approximately 11% of all patients in hospitals right now have COVID-19,” regional health officials said. “The buffer most hospitals rely upon is filled by these patients and, as a result, regional hospitals define their strain using the terms: ‘critical operations.’”

There’s currently a seven-day moving average of about three COVID-19 deaths in Southwest Ohio, according to the data. 

UC updates its coronavirus dashboard weekly. More information about the university’s pandemic protocols can be found here.