The University’s COVID Tracker reported Thursday a total of 430 positive coronavirus cases in the community since Aug. 17 — of which 382 are student cases — marking a new highest daily increase of 52 positive cases due to a testing backlog. These numbers only include those who have been tested through Student Health and Wellness or a University-affiliated clinic.
The large jump in cases is “primarily a product” of one of the University’s testing machines being temporarily offline, according to Wes Hester, deputy University spokesperson and director of media relations. The test processing issues have now been resolved, Hester wrote in a statement to The Cavalier Daily.
“As today’s numbers reflect — the large number of cases include a number who were tested earlier in the week and do not represent a sudden spike over the last 24 hours,” the statement said.
The previous largest daily spike in cases was an increase of 39 positive test results Sept. 10. According to the COVID Tracker, the average time for the University to complete a test has risen to 29 hours. U.Va. Health saw one new COVID-19-related hospitalization yesterday.
“As our testing capacity expands, we expect to see an uptick in cases on Grounds and to adapt our response plan in order to limit the spread of the virus and keep our community healthy and safe,” Hester said.
The University has begun implementing its expanded testing program, which includes random and mandatory surveillance testing of the student population, as well as plans to implement a saliva testing program by the end of September.
Yesterday, the University identified a cluster of at least five cases and wastewater indicators of a potential outbreak in the Balz-Dobie dormitory following five positive tests among first-year students. The University subsequently tested all residents and mandated that they quarantine until test results come back, which is expected to take 24-48 hours and is not included in Thursday's update.
According to the COVID Tracker, 15 percent of the University’s quarantine housing and one percent of isolation capacity has been filled. The University has set aside approximately 1,500 beds for quarantine and isolation.
“As anticipated, the University continues to identify positive cases through its testing program and to respond by isolating and caring for those who are infected and quarantining people who have been exposed,” Hester said.
The University will be debuting a new version of its COVID-19 tracker Friday afternoon, according to Hester. The current iteration of the tracker displays the number of cases in the community, the average time to get a test result, hospitalizations and quarantine space. The dashboard is updated around 4:00 p.m. on weekdays.
The dashboard currently does not display percent positivity or results from tests taken by students at off-Grounds facilities. It is unclear what changes will be made when the new dashboard debuts.