8/21: COVID-19 dashboard launched to share coronavirus testing results

August 21, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State today (Aug. 21) launched its publicly accessible COVID-19 dashboard to share data on its COVID-19 surveillance testing program as well as the number of individuals in isolation and quarantine. 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. Surveillance will be adapted based on lessons learned and testing resources will pivot as needed based on surveillance data outcomes. 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. This testing protocol begins on Aug. 24, the first day of classes, so data on the dashboard will be limited for the first week until test results are returned. At launch, the dashboard only includes data for University Park from UHS and Intercollegiate Athletics testing. Commonwealth Campus and surveillance results will be available after the first week of classes.

Additionally, 17,042 students from areas with a high prevalence of coronavirus have had mandatory pre-arrival tests as of Aug. 20. Of these, there have been 148 positive or presumptive positive results and 5,005 are awaiting outcomes. Those who have tested positive were notified to stay at home to isolate for 10 days and until all symptoms resolve and be cleared by a health professional before returning to a campus location. For these reasons, the dashboard does not include pre-arrival testing results, however, these results will be released toward the end of August as pre-arrival testing concludes. The University is analyzing the pre-arrival testing results to inform additional testing strategies as students arrive on campuses. 

Last Updated September 03, 2020