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IU expert reports first COVID-19 hospitalization, potential flu isolations in webinar



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A screenshot of Dr. Aaron Carroll, IU's director of mitigation testing, speaking Wednesday at his weekly Wednesday “Ask Aaron” webinar is pictured. Dr. Carroll reported one student was hospitalized for COVID-19. Matt Cohen

One IU student was hospitalized for COVID-19, said Dr. Aaron Carroll, IU’s director of mitigation testing, in the weekly “Ask Aaron” webinar on Wednesday. 

This is the first reported hospitalization from IU medical leadership. When asked a similar question about hospitalization in previous webinars, Carroll said he had not heard of any such cases. 

Carroll said the hospitalized student wasn't originally tested through IU, and he didn't specify where the student was tested. 

Carroll said most students won't experience symptoms requiring hospitalization. 

Carroll also discussed the upcoming flu season and precautions that might come with it. IU is requiring all students, faculty and staff to get a flu shot this fall. 

Carroll said that given the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, he could see similar measures put into place for the flu. 

“I can imagine that we will be doing isolation for the flu,” Carroll said. 

Carroll originally said there may be quarantines for the flu, but then retracted that statement saying there will not be contact tracing like the COVID-19 response has had. Isolation, however, remains a possibility. It is unclear where those students would be isolating in such a scenario. Isolation keeps students in one room with no other interactions whereas in quarantine a student could leave their room to go the kitchen to get food or sit outside.

Carroll said there still aren't many details or clarity on this situation yet. 

Carroll’s webinar comes after IU released updated COVID-19 testing data for the week of Sept 13-19. The dashboard update showed a decrease in new cases and positivity rates and positivity rates for a second straight week

Carroll, who has written op-eds for the New York Times criticizing the U.S. for reopening too quickly, said he doesn't think more common spaces will open up any time soon, despite the potential for that conversation if numbers continue to decline.

There were currently only 14 houses remaining in quarantine at the time of the webinar. Carroll said that the school has recently begun mitigation testing students in quarantine, instead of only testing them if they became symptomatic. Students cannot test out of quarantine, however, with mitigation testing. 

In this week’s dashboard update, mitigation testing positivity rates for greek students living in the houses dropped to roughly 3%, down from roughly 14% the week prior. 

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