Ohio State University’s COVID-19 positivity rate remains below 1%

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Data released from the Ohio State University shows that its COVID-19 positivity rate remains below 1%.  

Ohio State’s Comprehensive Monitoring Team released their initial report Thursday, which they say shows university’s safety measures are working to contain COVID-19. 

Among the CMT’s observations:

  • The strategy of frequent testing, isolation, quarantine, masking, distancing and limits on class and gathering size – against the backdrop of less density on campus overall – has been successful in reducing infection rates for undergraduate students living on and off campus. Among graduate and professional students in the testing program, rates have been low.
  • Two key measures – trends in infection rates among asymptomatic students and positive rates among students who seek out testing because of symptoms or close contact with someone who is infected – declined and then remained stable since mid-September.
  • The reproduction number (Rt), an epidemiological measure of the potential for ongoing transmission, has remained stable, and primarily below 1, an indicator that the epidemic may be slowing.
  • The majority of students who have tested positive for COVID-19 have experienced no symptoms.

Amy Fairchild, who leads the CMT and is dean of Ohio State’s College of Public Health said that the effort of students, faculty and staff helped to keep the university’s numbers down.  

“Our students have been routinely showing up for testing, participating in the contact tracing process and protecting the Buckeye community through isolation and quarantine – all factors that have contributed to the relative success we’ve seen so far,” Fairchild said. “Coupled with ongoing measures including proper masking, physical distancing and avoiding crowded gatherings – which are all supported by our public health campaign – I’m optimistic that we can continue to control transmission on and off campus, even as increases in infection rates are being seen in communities throughout the state.” 

Fairchild did warn that their optimism comes with a side of caution. particularly as the weather turns colder, sending more people indoors, and as some grow complacent about the public health precautions necessary to contain the pandemic

The CMT says, moving forward, it is expanding its work monitoring vulnerable populations and activity on Ohio State’s regional campuses and analyzing wastewater, a method of tracking the virus that bolsters overall campus surveillance. 

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