Covid Testing.jpg

The ISD Editorial Board commends Iowa State's decision to start random COVID-19 testing to identify asymptomatic cases. 

As of Monday, Iowa State reported its lowest number of positive COVID-19 cases yet, with only 43 individuals testing positive through on-campus testing.

This marks the fourth consecutive week in a row Iowa State has reported a positivity rate of less than 5 percent. 

For comparison, there are currently 15 counties in Iowa that have positivity rates higher than 15 percent. Story County’s positivity rate is close to 7 percent

All in all, it seems like Iowa State is faring pretty well. The positivity rate is decreasing every week, and the university is certainly doing better than the rest of the state. 

However, we need to acknowledge that when it comes to testing, the results often don’t accurately reflect the true reality — something scientists acknowledged from the beginning. 

For the most part, a person can get a test — either through TestIowa or at Hilton Coliseum — if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or got exposed to someone who later tested positive. 

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and then you get tested, you are more likely to test positive compared to someone without symptoms. This does not accurately show the percentage of the population that is actually positive for COVID-19. 

That’s why it’s so important Iowa State began random testing Oct. 12.

Young people, ages 18-24, are more likely to be asymptomatic or experience mild symptoms from COVID-19. Randomly testing a segment of the population allows us to gain insight into the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 on campus. 

While community transmission on campus seems low compared to the rest of the state, we don’t currently know how many students are actually infected. Random testing will change that.

This step shows an increase in preparedness from Iowa State. If the university is able to conduct random testing, then clearly they have expanded their resources and testing capabilities. This will be more important than ever as we approach flu season. Students, faculty and families should feel comforted knowing there are more resources available as we battle the flu and COVID-19.

Iowa State appears much more prepared to fight COVID-19 now than they did at the beginning of the semester. 

The editorial board does have concerns about making random testing voluntary. Students who live off campus and are selected may not have found it worthwhile to come to campus and get tested, or perhaps on-campus students simply decided not to participate. 

We do appreciate the university provided incentives for selected students to actually go get tested. While we don’t currently know how many students followed through, the incentives hopefully made it so students who otherwise would not get tested received a test.

Random testing benefits Iowa State in a number of ways, and we want to commend the university administration for making this decision.

The results of these tests will be released soon, and if all goes well, they will reaffirm that Iowa State has COVID-19 under control. If not, the university must assess what areas are experiencing notable case counts and make a plan to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Iowa State’s COVID-19 dashboard is updated weekly, with both cumulative and weekly testing results. 

Opinion Policies

Opinions expressed in columns and letters are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Daily or organizations with which the author(s) are associated. 

Feedback policy: The Daily encourages discussion but does not guarantee its publication. We reserve the right to edit or reject any letter or online feedback. The goal of the opinion section is to spark civil public discourse by publishing opinions based on facts that articulate an argument. The merit of a piece's ability to further public discourse, among other factors, will be considered when determining if a piece is publication worthy. 

Letter to the Editor Submission Link

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.