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KBIA’s Health & Wealth Desk covers the economy and health of rural and underserved communities in Missouri and beyond. The team produces a weekly radio segment, as well as in-depth features and regular blog posts. The reporting desk is funded by a grant from the University of Missouri, and the Missouri Foundation for Health.Contact the Health & Wealth desk.

Two Non-Traditional MU Students Hospitalized with COVID-19; One Already Discharged

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Mizzou Show Me Renewal
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It’s the first time since the University of Missouri started reporting COVID-19 cases that the number of “TOTAL STUDENTS HOSPITALIZED SINCE AUG. 19, 2020” was not zero.

The Show Me Renewal dashboard was updated on Monday to two students, marked with a double asterisk.

Christian Basi, the director of the MU News Bureau, said the double asterisk was to show that one of the students had already been released from the hospital, and both were non-traditional students above the average college student age.

These two students are among the approximately 6,700 non-traditional students at Mizzou.

We feel that the university and our community has done a phenomenal job this semester,” Basi said. “It has taken hundreds of faculty and staff and students, and we've seen great compliance across campus. So, we do not want to let down our guard now.”

Basi said that while these hospitalizations are not cause for panic, he does hope that students will continue to pay attention to safety precautions like wearing a mask, washing hands and practicing social distancing.

While students have been advised to remain at home after Thanksgiving Break, Basi said the University will continue to monitor COVID-19 cases, and students will continue to be required to notify MU if they test positive.

“Knowing that they have a COVID diagnosis is important, because if they're experiencing symptoms, this create challenges for them to do their academic work, and we need to know so we can help them around that. So, we can help them find a solution,” Basi said.

MU will continue to monitor cases among faculty and staff, as well, but that number is self-reported.

Basi added that not all students will be returning home – due to a number of reasons. He said when surveyed, more than 1,100 on-campus students reported that they planned to remain on campus during break, and another 1,100 reported that they will be returning afterward. And there is no way to know how many off-campus students will remain in Columbia.

“As for students staying home,” Basi said. “We hope that that will actually keep the cases among the student body low. We continue to have, what we consider to be, a very low rate of active cases, especially when you compare it to our peak, which was back on Labor Day weekend.”

As of Monday, Mizzou has 140 active student cases, which is 0.5 percent of the student body.

Rebecca Smith is a reporter and producer for the KBIA Health & Wealth desk. She was born and raised in Rolla, Missouri, and graduated with degrees in Journalism and Chemistry from Truman State University in May 2014. Rebecca comes to KBIA from St. Louis Public Radio, where she worked as the news intern and covered religion, neighborhood growth and the continued unrest in Ferguson, MO.