Tabor bucks trend of COVID-19 cases
UPDATE — Tabor athletes lead sudden surge in COVID cases. STORY
A possible COVID case in the men’s dorm at Tabor College turned out to be a false alarm as its campus remains free of the virus.
It’s a twist that shows the small Mennonite liberal arts college to be a rare reopening success as clusters of cases erupt elsewhere.
The state’s colleges and universities have been hit with six outbreaks of the disease with 82 total infected, according to Kansas Department of Health and Environment reports.
A Hillsboro ambulance was dispatched at 12:40 a.m. Monday to a male patient in the men’s dorm at Tabor with breathing problems.
“He is breathing; he is just having issues between breaths,” said the dispatcher who placed the response level at Delta, which is an urgent case.
Dispatch asked Hillsboro ambulance to call for “key location information” a phrase that has been adopted as code for a possible case of COVID.
The patient was transported to Hillsboro Community Hospital and tested negative for the virus, said Miriam Kliewer, executive assistant to Tabor president Jules Glanzer.
She said she could not release any other information on the student’s medical condition.
Glanzer urged students who show symptoms of the virus to seek medical help to determine if they need to be tested.
Tabor has partnered with Viviature and Hillsboro Community Hospital to set up a rapid-antigen lab in the college’s old welcome center.
The test detects specific proteins on the surface of the virus and can produce results in minutes, which can be key in keeping a campus free of the disease.
At Tabor the effort appears to be producing initial success.
“As of noon Monday all students on campus that have reported COVID-19 symptoms have been tested and have had negative test results,” Glanzer said.
Tabor has a color-coded approach to the virus based on threat level. The college has been at level “Yellow,” or moderate risk for the virus since students began arriving Aug. 5.
Mask wearing is mandatory and students have daily temperature checks. Students who test positive will be quarantined in the old Hillsboro hospital.
Kliewer said she was glad the college managed to set up its testing center by the time nearly 550 students and 150 employees arrived on campus.
Students began their college journey with a temperature check, health screen and a nose swab in a staging area at the Shari Flaming Arts Center.
A negative test for COVID-19 meant they were escorted to the dorms, a positive one meant they were sent home.
Kliewer was not able to say how many positive cases there were, but she said Tabor’s “proactive” testing of students and faculty stemmed trouble.
Students had to show a negative result to receive the keys to their dorm, she said.
And now there are “no positive cases on campus, in any of its buildings or residence halls.”
“We are (trying to be) very COVID safe,” she said.