By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer
The Baylor COVID-19 dashboard was released Monday, reflecting pre-semester baseline data as students, faculty and staff returned to campus.
From August 1 to 3 p.m. Monday, the dashboard recorded a 1% positivity rate in the health services testing, third-party testing kits sent to students, faculty and staff, and self-reported positive test results from faculty, staff, and on-campus contractors.
The dashboard includes four graphs reflecting daily new cases and new case averages over seven days, daily positive rates and average positive rates over seven days. Also, total active cases and cumulative reported cases are recorded with a 90-95% accuracy rate in all data.
Lori Fogleman, assistant vice president of media and public relations, said 109 of the total positive cases are active and need to be in isolation according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
“Total active cases will drop off after 10 days as many of these are from the pre-semester testing of students, faculty and staff.” Fogleman said. “So, we can expect to see the number increase with the return to campus, but the most important thing is that you can see on the dashboard as of 3 p.m. Monday, the positivity rate is around 1%.”
She explained there is a bit of a lag time in the data as it is being reported through the night and updated each day. So, the dashboard is showing more of a snapshot of the situation on campus.
Texas and the Waco/McLennan county also keep a COVID-19 dashboard that is updated daily. Schools around Texas like UT Austin, TCU, SMU, Texas Tech and University of Houston all keep a dashboard to monitor the situation on their campuses too.
If a positive test from the Baylor community was taken in Waco/McLennan County it would be counted in their dashboard as well. But, you’re not going to see the total cumulative tests taken from the Baylor community show up in the Waco/McLennan County dashboard since some of them were reported from outside the county, Fogleman said.
Castle Pines, Colo., junior Sarah Asinof is in support of the school’s dashboard to keep students updated on the situation.
“I think this provides a way for us to have clarity and knowledge in a very anxious time. However, I hope Baylor is more open about their specific expectations for this semester,” Asinof said. “More specifically, how many cases is their ‘maximum’ and when they will decide to possibly go back online? Overall, I think the dashboard is a great step in the right direction and I hope it contributes to keeping us on campus for the rest of the semester.”
Later on in the semester, total positive tests will be classified between students, faculty and staff.
“It is very broad data right now, this is for our pre-semester baseline testing, the categories for the testing conducted by Everlywell were not classified by students, faculty or staff. As we move into the semester and transfer away from the onboard testing, the pre-semester testing, then we will start looking at the breakdowns of the classifications,” Fogleman said.
The campus community is strongly encouraged to focus on their personal health throughout the semester. Monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, practice social distancing, wear face coverings in all campus buildings and in large gatherings, and wash hands often.
“We are just at the beginning of the semester and we cannot let our guard down. We expect our numbers to increase as students return to campus and the campus community gets active. It is absolutely critical that we all continue good health habits for our own health and safety, and for everyone in our campus community and in the local community,” Fogleman said.