COVID testing, positive cases declining on campus foreshadows spike


Melvin Bui

Testing site leads, Kristi Ray (left) and Savannah Kirk (right) waiting for patients to enter the testing room at the Colusa Hall testing site on Feb. 10.

The number of people being tested and vaccinated in the Universities’ community has been declining. Not everyone has been taking advantage of the on-campus testing sites.

The busiest day of COVID testing at Chico State occurred when students moved into University Housing in late January. Nurses set up multiple tables in The Hub and administered about 300 to 400 PCR tests within five hours. Students were required to test negative before entering housing.  

Mike Guzzi, Pandemic Management director, said the university expected cases to spike in student housing when students moved-in, but has been surprised by the 3.4% positive testing rate. Testing site lead Krisiti Ray said the rise in cases was predictable. 

“This is the time of year where it’s also flu and cold season so typically there would be a spike, and so I wasn’t surprised that positive COVID cases are going to be a little higher and coming off of a holiday break,” Ray said. 

Chico State’s PCR tests  come from Avellino. The testing site staff rotates throughout Butte County when not working at the Colusa and Whitney Hall testing sites.

More than 700 COVID cases have been reported at Chico State since late January to mid February, according to BC-19

Savannah Kirk, who is also a testing site lead, said the COVID testing sites on campus coordinate with the COVID-19 Hotline for clarification on cases, but they do not work together. 

“We will refer individuals to the hotline if there’s some questions Chico State related, or if it’s an individual in a dorm and they are not really sure what their next step will be. That will be between housing and the hotline,” Ray said.

The Colusa Hall testing site opened the first day of spring semester and also administers vaccines, but only a few hundred people have taken advantage of the shots. The Colusa testing site has averaged 50 to 70 PCR and about 25 to 50 rapid tests per day. 

Kirk said COVID cases come in waves, but she expects another spike around spring break.  

“We’re exposing ourselves anyway, so we knew what that risk was when we took the position,” Ray said. “Somebody’s got to do it. But yeah, I’m not worried.”
Melvin Bui can be reached at [email protected] or @MelvinBuii_ on Twitter.