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University Issues Update on New Case Counts

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The University has issued a message updating West Campus students, faculty and staff on new postive cases. The message reads as follows:

Coning Back Safe and StrongOverview of New Case Counts
As a direct result of proactive surveillance testing of more than 3,000 students on West Campus conducted by Stony Brook Student Health Services since August 11, in the last day there have been 17 new positive cases among students identified as of September 2, 2020 in addition to the one case identified on August 28.

Potential for False Positives
Fifteen of the positive cases resulted from one batch of tests. Our campus testing company has advised that this batch of tests may have produced false positives. Accordingly, we are retesting all 18 of our positive student cases, in an effort to validate the results and eliminate potential false positives. The students will be retested and the results returned in 24 hours.

In the meantime, all of the students who tested positive have been advised to move to isolation and their close contacts, identified through contact tracing, to quarantine. In total, 78 students who tested positive or who were their close contacts will isolate or quarantine as a precaution until the tests are validated.

How We Are Responding
We are following our protocols, including contact tracing and alerting those who have been in close contact with the students who have tested positive, including faculty members and staff. We are providing 14-days of quarantine space and services for those who tested positive; those who are at risk are being instructed to self-isolate for 14-days. We are working closely with our partners in the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SDOHS), and following guidance of both SUNY and the New York State Department of Health for next steps.

Bearing in mind the privacy of our students and abiding by the laws set forth by FERPA and HIPAA, what we can tell you about the 17 new positive student cases is as follows:

  • None of the students who tested positive are symptomatic
  • The cases are scattered across the campus
  • None are roommates
  • There are two residence halls with two cases (all others have one)
  • There is no evidence of a single cluster, event, or gathering that contributed to these cases
  • Six of the students who tested positive for COVID-19 are taking only online classes
  • Of the 12 students who tested positive and were attending in-person classes, none were in the same classroom environment

We’ve added a new step to our testing protocol: With permission from students who have tested positive, we will reach out to a parent or family member and provide them with information on how we are supporting their student and following our protocols.

We will continue to monitor cases, testing, quarantine and isolation capacity, and other factors that contribute to decisions about our operating status. If there is a need to shift to an operating status of fully online instruction for a 14-day period or longer, we will communicate with the community directly and promptly.

What You Can Do
Now it is especially important to double down on personal responsibility measures:

As a reminder, testing is available for students at the Enzo Clinical Lab location adjacent to the Student Health Services building and for staff and faculty at the New York State facility in the P Lot, and the SBU COVID-19 Dashboard will be updated with test results for students, faculty and staff on a daily basis.

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1 comment

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  • Including the “3000” since August 11 gives this message a marketing feel, undercutting its impression of transparency. What happened a month ago is irrelevant: The issue is what the current positivity rate is.

    The Dashboard is a really good idea, and it reassures the community that the administration is being transparent. You should not undercut that impression by putting a spin on the numbers.

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