Despite much of last week’s mandatory COVID-19 testing results being published on Salisbury University’s coronavirus dashboard, numerous students who had their tests administered on Sept. 9 were still left waiting on their results Monday morning.
In consequence, these individuals had their access to campus and in-person classes restricted for simply not having a test result — positive or negative — on file from SU’s round of Labor Day testing. Rumors even began to circulate on social media that tests may have been misplaced or lost during processing.
According to Dr. Dane Foust, vice president of Student Affairs, the “lost” results were merely victims of a severe backlog of tests at the University of Maryland, Baltimore lab — not misplaced — and that the remaining results from Sept. 9 were to be published and sent out to recipients Wednesday. The exact number of students affected by the delay is unknown.
After the latest update, the data for Sept. 9 testing now reflect a 6.3% positivity rate found over 2,118 tests, contributing to a weekly positivity rate of 6.2% for the campus community.
The week’s positivity rate still remains above 5%, a level the SU Public Relations Office has confirmed is enough for the university to strongly consider ceasing in-person operations and closing the campus.
In fact, SU’s weekly positivity rate now exceeds the entire Wicomico County positivity rate – currently sitting at 4.3% – by nearly 2%, which SU President Charles Wight attributes to the county's different methodology.
Wight has previously stated that other factors such as the university’s “capacity for contact tracing, isolation and taking care of people when they are sick” will also have roles when considering changes to the campus’ operational levels.
Dogwood Village is the current site where many of the SU students who have tested positive and were unable to return home are fulfilling their necessary quarantine periods, which can safely house 70 individuals, according to Foust.
Foust has also mentioned that the university is pursuing an agreement with a local hotel to help house potential future positive cases of the virus as a “last resort,” though no arrangement is currently in place.
During his weekly COVID-19 briefing Thursday, Wight said that all university members who intend to come to campus this semester will now be tested monthly, barring an exemption from Campus Health, on a "rotating basis" to ensure that there are more days to administer tests and to reduce wait times for those in line.
Thus far, SU has survived 13 days with a combination of in-person, virtual and hybrid-formatted instruction since welcoming students back to campus for the fall semester.
To monitor incoming updates and view more information on the latest COVID-19 test results, visit https://www.salisbury.edu/coronavirus/testing-info.aspx.
By JAKOB TODD
Featured image: Salisbury University Facebook page.