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OU joins other universities in launching COVID-19 dashboard

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A screenshot of the OU COVID-19 dashboard taken on Sept. 9.

OU recently launched a COVID-19 dashboard tracking community cases, though it has less information and is updated less frequently than dashboards of several peer institutions. 

The Daily compiled information about OU’s dashboard, as well as information about other universities around the country with COVID-19 dashboards. Read more about what each dashboard has to offer below. 

University of Oklahoma 

OU’s dashboard includes positive test results and percent positives for community members tested at Goddard Health Services dating back to Aug. 10, as well as self-reported numbers of those in self-isolation or quarantine. The dashboard also lists several reasons for self-isolation or quarantine — a positive result, the onset of symptoms, exposure to COVID-19 from someone in the same household and exposure from any other means. It also includes testing data specific to on-campus housing residents.

OU Director of Media Relations Kesha Keith previously said polymerase chain reaction COVID-19 test results from Goddard Health Center and self-reported PCR test results submitted to Goddard will be tracked on the dashboard, as well as regional statistics. The university will not be tracking or conducting rapid antigen tests, as the Oklahoma State Department of Health classifies those test results as “probable cases.” Since her comment, though, the state health department has announced it will begin counting positive rapid test results along with “confirmed” cases. 

Keith said OU officials encourage community members to provide local addresses when getting tested so campus cases can be tracked accurately. Regardless of where a student lives, though, students are encouraged to report positive test results to Goddard so contact tracing can be conducted. 

The university won’t track self-isolation numbers either, Keith said, because most students are expected to self-isolate off-campus. 

Although the dashboard’s website states the dashboard will be updated “regularly,” Keith said in an email the university won’t be updating the dashboard at a uniform time every day, and update times will “vary based on the amount of data being analyzed and uploaded by Goddard.” Keith said Goddard collects samples and sends them to reference labs to verify test results, so the result time is based on the lab and its turnaround time. 

At the time of this story's publication, the university dashboard is five days behind the current date. The latest update to Goddard testing data was from Sept. 4.

Currently, results are available in one to two days, Keith said. She also said the dashboard is updated retroactively, so a test result is dated based on when the sample was collected, not when Goddard received verification from a reference lab. 

The dashboard is currently being updated every weekday. 

University of Texas-Austin  

The University of Texas-Austin dashboard includes new student, faculty and staff COVID-19 cases per day, which consists of positive results from University Health Services and UT Health Austin testing results, “proactive community testing” — or surveillance testing — and self-reports. 

The dashboard also has a student, faculty and staff proactive community testing summary, which is defined on the dashboard website as displaying “results of proactive community testing conducted on the UT campus,” as well as total results conducted each week. The dashboard has proactive community testing results for past weeks, going back to the week of June 7. 

Susan Hochman, associate director for assessment, communications and health information technology at University Health Services, said in an email proactive community testing is testing of asymptomatic individuals who have not been exposed to anyone that’s tested positive in the last 14 days. All proactive community testing is done by UT, using a saliva-based collection method and a confirmation test if an individual tests positive. 

University staff has a multi-tiered strategy that includes testing those at greater risk due to a function of their job or activities, like living in a residential hall, Hochman said in the email. She also said anyone who is a secondary or casual contact to a positive case is encouraged to undergo proactive community testing. 

More information about UT’s proactive community testing process can be found at www.healthyhorns.utexas.edu

Hochman said in the email university employees are told to contact the Occupational Health Program if they’re receiving a COVID-19 test outside of the university. Students have been instructed to call the University Health Services Nurse Advice Line to self-report or fill out a form. 

New COVID-19 cases per day in Travis County, the county that includes UT, and Austin metropolitan area hospitalizations are also included on the dashboard. 

The UT dashboard is updated daily, Hochman said in the email. Proactive community testing is reported weekly, but positive cases that result from this kind of testing between weekly updates will be included in general testing results. No regular time for dashboard updates is posted on its website. 

Hochman also said in the email testing is not required for community members. 

“We aim to test 5,000 students, staff and faculty each week through our Proactive Community Testing Program,” Hochman said in the email. “We use a strategic, data-driven approach informed by infectious disease specialists and epidemiologists to determine where to focus our testing efforts.” 

Texas Christian University 

TCU’s dashboard includes graphs of active COVID-19 cases in the university community, daily new positive cases, weekly positive cases, monthly positive cases and daily recoveries. Each graph is color-coded to reflect statistics for both employees and students. 

TCU defines an active case as an individual that has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently in isolation, according to the dashboard’s website. Positive cases will be removed from the active case count once they’ve met CDC criteria for symptom-based recovery — at least ten days have passed since the onset of symptoms; at least 24 hours have passed since the individual last had a fever, without the aid of fever-reducing medicine; and their symptoms have improved. 

Separately, the dashboard breaks down total active cases, total active cases in students and employees, as well as total hospitalizations and recoveries. Total active student cases living off campus and total positives reported since March 2020 are also listed. 

The dashboard also reflects the availability of personal protective equipment, the maintenance of enhanced cleaning and the availability of isolation beds on campus. Each of these is placed in one of three categories — availability levels at 65 percent or greater, between 30 and 65 percent or less than 30 percent. 

The dashboard’s website links to coronavirus information for Tarrant County, the county that includes TCU’s campus. The website also states the dashboard will be updated every weekday before 9 a.m. 

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a dashboard that lists both daily positive cases and cumulative positive case totals to date among students and employees. Positive case totals for each of the residence halls on campus are also included. 

Cumulative test results and test results per week found in students through campus testing are reflected on the dashboard. The test results listed per week include positive test percentages, as well as the totals for both positive and negative test results. 

The dashboard also tracks occupancy levels of housing on the university’s main campus and in the Granville towers, an apartment complex near campus — both occupancies having dipped since UNC moved fall semester classes online. Quarantine and isolation room numbers for those on campus are also being tracked. 

The dashboard also links to information about clusters of COVID-19 cases found on campus, like in residence halls. Clusters are defined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as five or more cases deemed as close proximity in location, with “location” defined as a single residential hall or dwelling. 

The availability of masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant in the university community are monitored on the dashboard, with three possible categories — a 30 day supply on hand and/or an order expected to arrive in 30 days; less than a 30-day supply on hand and an order not expected to be delivered in 30 days; or having a limited supply on hand and no pending supply delivery because of external supply shortages. 

The maintenance of enhanced cleaning — defined as disinfecting a space two to four times daily and completing one daily deep clean, according to the dashboard’s website — is also being tracked by the university. This maintenance is also placed in one of three categories — spaces being disinfected two to four times daily, along with a daily deep clean; disinfecting once daily and a daily deep clean; or no daily or routine disinfecting and/or deep cleaning. 

Instructional modes for university classes are also being tracked by the dashboard. The university tracks percentages of classes occurring in person or with a hybrid model, with a HyFlex model and remotely. 

According to the website, the dashboard is updated each weekday, but no regular time for updates is listed. 

Notre Dame 

The Notre Dame COVID-19 dashboard includes positive cases in the community, breaking down totals for graduate students, undergraduate students and employees. Estimated recoveries and estimated active cases are also listed, as well as both diagnostic and surveillance test totals. 

The dashboard includes positive-case trend lines for all tests, diagnostic tests and surveillance tests. The trend lines can be customized to reflect up to 34 days of positive test results. 

Testing information is updated daily at 12 p.m., according to the dashboard website, and test results reflect university-administered diagnostic tests by the Wellness Center and University Health Services, including athletic team surveillance testing. 

The dashboard website reads the data is subject to change, and one “especially meaningful” cause of change is PCR tests given on a specific day, which the university doesn’t receive results for until one to two days later. This could lead to the number of cases on a particular day increasing several days later. 

All enrolled Notre Dame undergraduate and graduate students were required to undergo pre-matriculation testing before returning to campus, according to the website. The university administered 11,836 tests, yielding 33 positive cases. The website also said students who tested positive were required to stay home and away from campus until cleared by a University Health Services provider. 

Ari Fife is the OU Daily assistant news managing editor and a junior journalism major minoring in international studies and political science. Previously, she served as the summer editor-in-chief, a senior news reporter and an SGA beat reporter.

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