WVU releases additional COVID-19 data as symptomatic and group testing begins


UPDATE (SEPTEMBER 1, 2020 6:06 p.m.):

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – According to WVU’s Dean of Students Corey Farris, as of Aug. 31, 140 students on the Morgantown Campus were in isolation after testing positive. Farris said 15 are on-campus, in a university-owned building, 108 are off-campus and 17 have opted to isolate at home, somewhere that is not in Morgantown or Monongalia County. In addition, Farris said, 472 students are in quarantine after coming into contact with a positive case, which includes 123 on-campus, 331 off-campus and 18 who have decided to quarantine at home, out of the city and county.

“Regardless they are in quarantine for 14 days, which means they can’t go out, they cannot attend class or participate in programs and things like that,” Farris said. “They are to stay at home and minimize their interactions with others because they could test positive.”

So far, the dean said, dealing with these cases and potential ones have been going well so far. He said as soon as someone is confirmed positive or having been in contact with someone who has tested positive the university reaches out to them. On-campus students who are positive are moved into Arnold Apartments as soon as they are confirmed to be positive.

Dean Farris

Then we start providing meals and support for those students in isolation at Arnold Apartments. If they are living off-campus we still have outreach to them because we do want to make sure that their needs are being met. But we also want to make sure that they know that if they do start having symptoms and they need to not attend or keep up with their classwork because they are not just feeling well then we let them know that we will reach out to their faculty members so that their faculty members can be accomodating to help them when they are feeling better and can make up course work.

Dean Corey Farris

Thus far, Farris said, the university has not received any “unusual” requests that it has not been able to meet from students who have tested positive.

Although he would rather have zero confirmed cases, Farris said he was glad that the university has safety guidelines that were put in place before students returned to campus. For this reason, WVU has not had to shut down like many other universities around the country, since they already had a plan for what to do once students became infected.

ORIGINAL (August 31, 2020 4:40 p.m.):

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University released additional COVID-19 data on Monday, including the current number of students isolating and the current number of students quarantining due to possible contact with a COVID-19-positive individual.

The release from the university stated that last week, WVU began ongoing testing focused on symptomatic individuals and sample testing of certain groups, including those living in residence halls, those participating in athletics and those participating in performing arts, among others, as necessary.

Officials said that as a result, the daily percentage of positive COVID-19 tests available on WVU’s public COVID-19 testing dashboard are expected to increase during symptomatic sample testing. The release stated that this is because these tests are for individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms and groups who are more likely to be at risk of contracting COVID-19.

“Our testing is becoming much more focused on potential high-risk groups and individuals on campus as well continuing to identify any cluster outbreaks,” Dr. Jeffrey Coben, associate vice president of health affairs and dean of the School of Public Health, said. “We are also receiving self-reported cases from those who have tested positive through off-campus mechanisms such as urgent care clinics and primary care providers.” 

WVU officials said that additional information, such as numbers of people in quarantine or isolation is also being compiled and will be updated on the dashboard in the coming days.

As of Monday, August 31, there are currently 140 students on the Morgantown Campus in isolation. Of those, 15 are isolating on-campus, 108 are isolating off-campus and 17 have opted to isolate at home (not in Morgantown), according to the release.

Additionally, the release stated that 472 students on the WVU campus are quarantining. Of those, 123 are in quarantine on-campus, another 331 are quarantining off-campus and 18 students decided to quarantine at home (not in Morgantown).

“The majority of students who are in quarantine have been identified as close contacts of someone who has tested positive,” Coben said. “Because they are quarantining, they should not be spreading the virus on campus. However, we are watching these cases closely.”

WVU officials said that no new cases have been reported on WVU’s Beckley or Keyser campuses.

WVU’s dashboard will continue to be updated Monday-Friday 11 a.m. with information regarding students and employees broken out by campus (MorgantownBeckley and Keyser). All positive results are sent directly to the state.

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