WSU Pullman has 2,016 total positive COVID-19 cases

38 students in a 10-day isolation period; Pullman PD issued infractions to two fraternities for pandemic violations



Since Sept. 2, WSU Pullman has conducted 27,819 COVID-19 tests for students through its testing program, according to the COVID-19 dashboard.

STEFFI LUDAHL, Evergreen reporter

WSU Pullman has had a COVID-19 test percent positivity rate of 1.8 percent within the past two weeks.

As of Jan. 27, the university has 46 positive active COVID-19 cases. 38 students and eight employees are in their 10-day isolation period, according to the WSU COVID-19 Dashboard.

WSU Pullman had its lowest positive case count this year on Jan. 3 with only 23 cases, according to the dashboard.

Fall 2020 had a higher spike in COVID-19 positive cases. By Sept. 6, the university had 598 positive COVID-19 cases, and Whitman County had 625 positive COVID-19 cases at that time. WSU Pullman students and employees made up nearly 96 percent of the cases, according to the dashboard.

Since Sept. 2, WSU Pullman has conducted 27,819 COVID-19 tests for students through its testing program, according to the dashboard.

Phil Weiler, WSU vice president of marketing and communications, said WSU is picking up the cost of the tests for all WSU staff and students. 

“The cost per test is about $100 but we’ve got an in-house lab at the College of Veterinary Medicine that we’re using so we save on contracting a lab,” he said. 

That means WSU has spent nearly $2.8 million on tests alone, Weiler said.  

Pullman Police Department issued four infractions for COVID-19 violations since the semester started, Commander Jake Opgenorth said. Pullman PD issued two of those infractions to fraternities Pi Kappa Phi and Phi Kappa Sigma. 

“We would like to proactively go out there and educate the community and make sure that it doesn’t get to the point of issuing infractions,” he said. “But if we do get a complaint, we will respond to it.”

First-time offenders receive a fine of $250, Pullman PD Sergeant Chris Engle said. Subsequent violations can start at $350 and can go up to $2,000 if the judge feels it is necessary.

Since the semester started, campus police have responded to less than 10 reports of COVID-19 violations, said Steve Hansen, WSU assistant chief of police. None of those required more than a warning.

“We haven’t had a problem on campus,” he said. “Staff, visitors or students — they’ve all been really good to comply.” 

Hansen said he feels students on campus are there for academic purposes, which could contribute to the low number of violations. The main thing WSU PD officers had to do is just remind someone to put their mask back on. 

“If the students could please keep doing the good job, numbers will stay low,” he said.