Unlike previous seasons, the Boilermakers don’t just have the Gophers and the cold to worry about when they travel to Minneapolis. This year, they have COVID-19 to consider.
From Nov. 5 to Thursday, the number of positive cases reported in a week on the University of Minnesota’s campus jumped from 81 to 263, according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard.
This comes after roughly four times as many tests were conducted the week starting Thursday than in previous weeks. Like the University of Iowa, Minnesota doesn’t administer asymptomatic or surveillance testing, so the increased number of tests is likely due to the Vault Health tests mailed to students’ dorms to use at their discretion, according to reporting by the Minnesota Daily.
Minnesota’s seven-day campus positivity rate, based on numbers from Nov. 6 to Thursday, is the highest in the Big Ten at 19.7%. Its positivity rate for the semester overall is 10.2%.
Minnesota’s on-campus phase-in plan, called the “Maroon and Gold Sunrise,” initially restricted students from some campus facilities and from gathering, according to the university website. In the current stage, students are free to use all campus facilities until the midnight curfew.
On-campus students can eat only at their assigned dining hall or an on-campus restaurant, according to the university website.
Students choosing to dine in at dining courts are expected to wear masks before and after eating, follow the markers indicating safe social distancing and leave as soon as they are done. The Minnesota Daily reported that some students have not been following these rules.
Reporting by the Minnesota Daily also points to further COVID-19 problems in Minneapolis.
In the first weeks of school, many students said freshmen were hosting indoor parties.
Two nearby restaurants, Kollege Klub and Sally’s Saloon, continued to host students even as they were marked by the Minnesota Department of Health for suspected patron transmission of COVID-19.
Students in the School of Dentistry were given five disposable masks for the fall semester and told by faculty to use them until they became “ripped” or “soiled.”
Gopher Athletics has also seen an increase in cases.
The men’s basketball team stopped workouts on Nov. 10 due to an increase in COVID-19 cases on the team.
Football defensive coordinator Joe Rossi was in quarantine two weeks ago for Minnesota’s game against the University of Illinois. No other positive cases were reported on the team at that time, but the number of current active cases is not publicly available.
Because of their high positivity percentages and flimsy guidelines, the Gophers receive a danger rating of red.