PSU launches COVID-19 dashboard for on campus testing

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This is Old Main on the Penn State University main campus in State College, Pa.Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State launched a new COVID-19 dashboard to share data on its COVID-19 testing program as well as the number of individuals in isolation and quarantine, both students and staff.

Penn State says that the dashboard will be updated weekly with aggregate data on the number of symptomatic and asymptomatic tests administered, the number of positive results for each test category, the number of tests still waiting for results, and the number of individuals who are currently isolated or in quarantine, all on a campus-by-campus basis.

Test data will be delineated between students and employees and presented cumulatively and in seven-day snapshots. 

“The information displayed on the dashboard will play a critical role in allowing our campus communities to monitor their own wellness and helping to keep our campuses safe,” said Kelly Wolgast, director of the COVID-19 Operations Control Center (COCC). “If we see cases remaining flat or falling, we will know that our community is taking the appropriate steps to limit the spread of the virus. If we see cases rise, it’s important to share that information publicly so that our community can double down on masking and social distancing or take additional mitigation steps.”

The COCC is monitoring this data, as well as multiple other local, state and national trend data to advise Penn State leadership on the current state of virus spread and possible steps the University may have to take, up to and including returning to entirely remote learning. 

As part of a layered approach to mitigating the spread of coronavirus, Penn State committed to conducting surveillance testing on all of its campuses. The University plans to test daily at least 1% of its population of students, faculty and staff who are on campuses this fall.

The dashboard data also will incorporate results from testing of student-athletes conducted by Intercollegiate Athletics, as well as test results from private health care providers that are reported to University Health Services (UHS) or Penn State Occupational Medicine.

The surveillance testing plan includes random and risk-stratified surveillance testing along with asymptomatic testing for individuals who are identified through the contact-tracing process. The testing protocol began Monday Morning, Aug. 24, the first day of classes, so data on the dashboard will be limited for the first week until test results are returned.

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