9/8: Preliminary weekend COVID-19 testing results posted on dashboard

September 08, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State has updated its public COVID-19 dashboard with on-demand testing and random screening results from the period of Sept. 4-6, as well as new results from the prior week. These numbers are evolving as it can take up to 48 hours for test results to be received, which then are validated and uploaded.

For the period of Sept. 4-6, the University Park campus received 36 positive on-demand test results and six positive random screening results, all from student testing.

With additional test results coming in over the weekend for the previous week (Aug. 28 through Sept. 3), the dashboard reflects 145 additional positive on-demand testing results and 18 additional positive random screening results for the University Park campus. This brings the current total for the University Park campus for the period of Aug. 28 through Sept. 3 to 260 positive on-demand testing results and 77 positive random screening results, all from student testing.

The dashboard also includes six positive on-demand testing results for the period of Aug. 28 through Sept. 3 among College of Nursing students who recently arrived in Hershey for their upcoming clinical rotation. These results are listed under the “Hershey” tab due to their geographic location, however, the nursing students have not started their clinical rotations, so contact with any patients has been limited.

The dashboard indicates the following results for Commonwealth Campuses:

  • Abington: one on-demand testing positive (Sept. 4-6)
  • Behrend (Erie): three random screening positives (Aug. 28-Sept. 3)
  • Brandywine: one random screening positive (Aug. 28-Sept. 3)
  • Harrisburg: one random screening positive (Aug. 28-Sept. 3
  • Shenango: one on-demand testing positive (Aug. 28-Sept. 3)

The University has initiated its contact tracing process for all cases and the impacted individuals – all students throughout the University – are in isolation either on-campus, at home or in a suitable single-occupancy residence off campus. There is currently ample space remaining in the areas designated for isolation and quarantine. 

“We learned of some concerning behavior in State College, including a few large gatherings and groups socializing together on Saturday without masking and appropriate social distancing, but I was pleased to see that many of these activities were limited the rest of the weekend,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “We continue to be concerned with the numbers, and we will continue to assess our status this week as the results from tests administered later in the weekend are returned. We know our community is anxious, but these data are just some of the many variables we consider every day in determining our next steps.”

Penn State uses several vendor-supported testing processes as well as its own testing lab at University Park. The reporting to the Pennsylvania Department of Health is done by the various referent labs within the required reporting timelines after a test result is shown to be positive. Since the test result timelines vary with each lab, the reporting timelines also vary. The University dashboard presents data that are available and collected at a single point in time and the data will continue to change and be updated (on Tuesdays and Fridays) as the University receives additional results from our testing processes. For this reason, it is emphasized that the dashboard, when updated and posted with new data, is only a snapshot at that one point in time and cannot be considered a final reporting.

The University’s Testing and Surveillance Center is beginning operations today, shifting the University Park student portion of Penn State’s random screening from Vault Health testing to this in-house option. The lab, which is working with Penn State experts and using many existing University resources, will process the tests in groups – or pools – of five at a time, consistent with emergent practices.  

University officials are continuing to track current trends and continuously monitoring local, state and national disease data and following guidance from state and local health officials. Based on that guidance, and in consultation with faculty experts in epidemiology, medicine and public health, the University is prepared to adjust its approach as necessary.

To continue on-campus learning, work and other activities through the fall semester, it’s imperative that students, faculty and staff at all campuses and in adjacent communities do their part to limit the spread of COVID-19 — and support the effort to “Mask Up or Pack Up.” The University urges everyone to continue to wear face masks, practice social distancing and avoid gatherings entirely.

For the latest updates and information on Penn State’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, including frequently asked questions and information specific for students, faculty and staff, visit virusinfo.psu.edu.

Last Updated September 08, 2020