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Ohio State shares aggregate COVID-19 testing information

Data dashboard on Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website will help inform public, university decision making

The Ohio State University today published aggregate test results from its comprehensive COVID-19 testing program and unveiled a data dashboard that will be updated weekly to inform the public about test results and other information about the university’s COVID-19 status. The testing program, along with additional requirements, are tools to promote a safe and healthy experience for the Ohio State community.

The COVID-19 dashboard displays student testing from Aug. 14-Aug. 22, and faculty and staff testing from Aug. 1-Aug. 22. During this time frame the university has test results from 7,719 members of the university community, including undergraduate students, graduate and professional students, and faculty and staff. Within this group, 80 students and 12 faculty and staff have tested positive — 1.16% of tested students, and 1.44% of tested faculty and staff.

The student data includes both surveillance testing to continuously gauge the prevalence of COVID-19 in asymptomatic students and testing among students who sought tests because of symptoms or another reason. University officials cautioned against drawing broad conclusions from the initial data about the prevalence of COVID-19 within the university community, particularly since the data includes symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.

President-elect Kristina M. Johnson shared the data dashboard with the campus community in an email to students, faculty and staff.

“Information is a powerful tool in stopping the spread of the virus, and we want you to have as much information as possible,” Johnson wrote. “I know you join me in offering our love and support to the members of our Buckeye family who have tested positive and are in isolation.

The data is being shared in a way that protects individuals’ medical and educational privacy — and will help inform university decision making related to on-campus operations, health and safety measures and more throughout the autumn semester. The dashboard is also being made available for general public awareness.

“It’s imperative for the Ohio State community and the broader Columbus community to have access to a timely snapshot of testing and continuous monitoring activities. Collecting and sharing the aggregated results of our testing program, and of other measures related to the pandemic, is an important part of keeping our students, faculty and staff informed as well as being good partners with communities throughout the state,” said Amy Fairchild, dean of the College of Public Health, who leads a comprehensive monitoring team that is evaluating the data. Ohio State is working closely with the Ohio Department of Health, Columbus Public Health and local health departments near its regional campuses in these efforts.

“This dashboard aligns with the data-driven approach taken by the university. As always, our work is guided by the most current science on COVID-19, which continues to evolve. As such, the information provided on the dashboard is likely to change with time,” Fairchild said.

The dashboard, available on the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website, also provides information on a variety of Ohio State and statewide measures that help university experts track the trajectory of the pandemic and provide recommendations about containing the spread of infection.

The dashboard also includes data on:

  • The number of students currently in on-campus isolation or quarantine housing to prevent the spread of the virus
  • The availability of personal protective equipment on campus
  • The status of enhanced cleaning measures on campus
  • Ohio’s statewide case count, for reference
  • The rate of transmission in the state
  • Statewide hospital capacity

The university continues to refine, improve and expand its COVID-19 testing efforts.

The surveillance testing program for students has been expanded to include mandatory testing of all residential students as part of the move-in process, mandatory weekly testing of all students at all ranks who live in residence halls or university-managed housing, and regular testing of random samples from asymptomatic undergraduate students who live off campus. Additionally, the testing program includes voluntary testing of asymptomatic faculty, staff, and graduate and professional students who live off campus; testing of any symptomatic individuals; and targeted testing if COVID-19 hot spots are identified.

Individuals who test positive are contacted by the university and instructed to isolate. On-campus isolation housing is available for students. The university’s Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Team conducts interviews with each infected individual and contacts others who have potentially been exposed. Individuals identified as close contacts are instructed to quarantine for 14 days. On-campus quarantine housing is available for students as well. Isolation and quarantine are proven infectious disease control measures designed to protect the Ohio State community and the broader community.

Additional information about testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine is available on the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website.

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