Reported COVID-19 cases at local colleges may not include all infected students

Posted at 4:55 PM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-22 17:11:32-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va.— Local universities are publishing their COVID-19 case count, but some positive cases are being left off the list.

The common method for sharing testing information publicly is a COVID-19 dashboard. All local Virginia colleges with students on campus have one, but no two are the same.

Christopher Newport University lists active cases and doesn’t wait for verification from the Virginia Department of Health which means there could be false positives listed, but the university says being as transparent as possible, as soon as possible, is a benefit for everyone.

“There were rumors on social media that there had been some spike in cases— some alarming situation— so we have greatly reduced the number of false rumors out there because people on a daily basis, Monday through Friday, they know around 8:30 or 9 o’clock in the morning they can see an accurate snapshot of conditions on campus,” says Jim Hanchett, Christopher Newport University Chief Communications Officer.

CNU does not list its cumulative positive cases but says the number is under 25 for students and employees.

The Virginia Department of Health says colleges are only required to report cases that are tested at the school; However, William & Mary also lists positive cases that students report to the school.

Meanwhile, both Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University’s dashboards only list on-campus testing results. If a student or employee is tested off campus at the schools, a positive test result is not recorded online.

ODU says three students and one employee self-reported that they tested positive for COVID-19 this semester in addition to the 59 cases reported on the dashboard Tuesday.

NSU tells News 3 that two students self-reported positive cases that are not listed on their dashboard, but faculty and staff testing numbers are not up to date online as of Tuesday afternoon and the university did not reveal how many employees self-reported cases.

As For CNU, they say sharing their numbers has helped the campus community be mindful of doing their part to keep cases down.

Click here for full coronavirus coverage.