Virginia Tech uses online COVID-19 dashboard to monitor campus health

Virginia Tech Campus

Virginia Tech Campus

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Virginia Tech’s new online dashboard offers information on campus health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Updated on Monday with data from the preceding week (Aug. 17 through Aug. 23), the dashboard shows 16 true positive cases, out of 5,378 tests, for the week.

From August 9 to August 23, a total of 9,041 students and employees were tested by Schiffert Health Center, and a total of 21 people tested positive for COVID-19. The cumulative figure includes all on-campus students who were tested upon their arrival during the university’s 10-day move-in period from August 14 through August 23.

Last week, the dashboard first reported five cases (one true positive and four positives) based on tests from August 9 to August 16. Those five cases included four students who had previously confirmed COVID-19 infections prior to coming to campus.

The dashboard reports Schiffert’s positive tests for both students and employees, but the two categories are not separated.

The dashboard is updated each Monday before noon with the previous week’s test results. By updating the numbers weekly, the university has time to verify that the information is accurate, due to a lag in receiving test results, according to Kevin Foust, associate vice president for safety and security at Virginia Tech.

Also, the dashboard currently reports that 11 students are in on-campus isolation. Students who test positive for COVID-19 have the option to return home to isolate. If they cannot return home, they must stay in designated on-campus isolation spaces.

According to Foust, the dashboard’s isolation numbers do not reflect the cumulative total of students who have been in isolation, but only the number who are in isolation on the day of reporting, because students may have returned home or some may no longer need to isolate.

Those who are symptomatic and those on campus who have high rates of contact with others will be given priority, Foust said. Other students may contact Schiffert to schedule a COVID-19 test on an availability basis.

The Virginia Tech dashboard is one of the tools that Virginia Tech uses as it helps to manage the pandemic in the area. Decisions regarding in-person instruction and activities are based on public health data and the adherence of Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff to campus health and safety protocols.

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