Despite the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases in July and early August, Cornell has seen low rates of positive COVID-19 tests. 0.089 percent of students tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week, according to Cornell’s COVID-19 dashboard, while 6.1 percent tested positive nationwide.
The dashboard, initially scheduled to be released Monday, provides data from Cornell’s COVID-19 testing program — including the total number of tests, the number of positive tests and Cornell’s COVID-19 alert level.
The COVID-19 alert level provides an overall indicator on the public health status of Cornell’s campus, and is informed by five metrics: the number of infections over the course of seven days, the availability of quarantine and isolation space, local health system capacity, community spread in Ithaca and the stock of supplies needed to conduct surveillance testing.
The alert level utilizes a color coded system to inform the campus of the threat level, with “green” being the lowest level of threat followed by “yellow,” “orange,” and “red.”
A red threat level would be cause for consideration of shuttering campus. Provost Michael Kotlikoff stated at an Aug. 21 University Assembly meeting that one trigger for a red threat level is if there are 250 cases in a seven day period.
The rate of positive cases among students is lower than the predictions made in Prof. Peter Frazier’s, operations research and information engineering, model.
Frazier’s model predicted that by move-in weekend, after students from high-prevalence states completed a 14-day quarantine, the prevalence of COVID-19 would be 0.128 percent.
Other colleges and universities that are also reactivating their campuses for a hybrid semester have set up similar dashboards.
Duke University, which began its on-campus move-in and COVID-19 testing process Aug. 17, has a dashboard that is updated weekly. The Duke COVID Testing tracker displays the number of tests, positive tests and the number of individuals in various stages of quarantine and isolation in the community, weekly and cumulatively.
Duke’s testing regiment is similar to Cornell’s, with an initial phase of entry testing followed by weekly or biweekly testing throughout the semester.
In its first week of testing, Duke saw a 0.2 percent positive test rate — double that of Cornell’s first week.
Binghamton, just an hour away from Cornell, also released its own dashboard — depicting daily and cumulative data on the total number of tests, positive tests and negative tests.
As of Aug. 23, Binghamton had 0.53 percent of tests come back positive with 23 total positive tests.