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ISU Student Vaccination Rate Hits 70%

COVID-19 cases at ISU after two weeks of the fall semester are roughly a tenth of the number at this time last year.
COVID-19 cases at ISU, after two weeks of the fall semester, are roughly a tenth of the number at this time last year.

Two weeks into the fall semester, Illinois State University's student vaccination rate is now 70%. That's up from 61% after the first week of classes.

The faculty and staff rate is now 87%, up from 80% a week ago. Of those students living in on-campus housing, 79% are vaccinated.

The 70% of all students who are vaccinated is close to what some health experts believe is a level that can produce herd immunity — the rate that will prevent the easy spread of the COVID-19. That safety level of vaccination is more difficult to gauge for ISU, however, because the university population interacts with the rest of the community. McLean County Health Department data show just 52% of the general population in the county is vaccinated.

Vaccination progress on campus eventually will slow when most of the people who are willing to vaccinate have done so. There is still room before ISU hits that ceiling, though. The university said a week ago that 81% of students living on campus had at least one of the two doses of the vaccine.

University spokesperson Eric Jome said ISU has not tried to predict a ceiling for a vaccination rate. He said numbers continue to rise fairly rapidly, and ISU urges everyone on campus to get a vaccine to protect themselves and the rest of the community.

In the last seven days, ISU has had 49 positive COVID tests, including faculty, staff, and students. In the first two weeks, the number of cases at the two on-campus testing sites was 111. At this point in the semester in 2020, ISU already had 957 student cases and about 10 employees with COVID.

ISU's testing positivity rate has fallen from about 2% last week to 0.9% in the last seven days.

The university requires unvaccinated students, faculty, and staff to submit weekly coronavirus testing even if they are not symptomatic. By comparison, the county's rolling seven-day testing positivity rate is four times higher than the campus rate.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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