CU Boulder: Increase In COVID-19 Positive Tests Expected

BOULDER, CO—The University of Colorado Boulder published a new dashboard this week to provide the public regularly updated information regarding the status of COVID-19 on campus.

The dashboard provides information on the number of diagnostic tests completed by CU Boulder Medical Services and the number of positive results.

It does not include testing results from CU Boulder staff, faculty, or students who may have been tested at a different site or with their own health care provider, university officials said.

Students moving into residence halls have been asked to complete a COVID-19 test within five days prior to move-in and arrive for move-in only if they have a negative result. In instances where students are unable to get a test completed on their own, the campus will be prepared to test students upon arrival.

“This concentrated and proactive approach to testing is expected to lead to an increase in the number of positive cases recorded for the campus,” said Dan Jones, associate vice chancellor for integrity, safety and compliance. “This safety measure will allow the campus to better identify and isolate students who could have unknowingly spread the virus if they had not been tested.”

Students who test positive upon arrival and live within a 250-mile radius of the campus may be asked to isolate in their permanent homes until cleared to move onto campus, with limited exceptions. Students unable to return to their permanent home will be provided with a space to isolate on campus.

“With any large group of people coming to our community, particularly from areas where there are high levels of coronavirus activity, we will see increased transmission of this virus,” said Jeff Zayach, Boulder County Public Health executive director. “We are hopeful that the testing and isolation plan the university has in place will minimize any spread on campus and to the greater Boulder County community.”

While the influx of new residents to the community will increase the overall number of people testing positive for COVID-19, Boulder County Public Health encourages residents to monitor the five-day rolling average of percent of positive tests metric as a more accurate reflection of virus activity and risk in the community. The goal is stay below five percent positivity.

A low rate of positivity can be seen as a sign that enough of the population is being tested to make informed public health decisions. CU Boulder has reserved residential spaces on campus to accommodate students who need to isolate upon move-in or during the semester.

Density in residence halls has been reduced, about half of all courses will be conducted online or remotely and class sizes have been reduced to allow for increased physical distancing. All students must complete a COVID-19 safety and awareness course, wear face coverings while on campus and abide by local health orders.

All students with symptoms will have access to testing through CU Boulder Medical Services. In coordination with Boulder County Public Health, the campus has established its own contact tracing program to quickly track, respond and isolate probable cases. The campus is also going to implement a surveillance testing program to monitor the presence of COVID-19 and mitigate the spread.

This article originally appeared on the Boulder Patch