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Vaden reports one positive test out of 2,000 in August, Provost pledges new dashboard to track cases

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Out of approximately 2,000 COVID-19 tests conducted at Vaden Health Center during August, where most student swab collection took place, there was only one positive result, said Vaden Health Services director Jim Jacobs at a Wednesday webinar.

The University also announced at the webinar that it would launch a dashboard tracking the outcomes of campus COVID testing “in the near future.”

The webinar, hosted by President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Provost Persis Drell and several Stanford health leaders, focused on the University’s new COVID-19 testing plan for fall quarter. The speakers covered the details of the testing plan, how this plan came to be and recent data they have already collected. 

Drell explained that the testing plan has two parts to it — mandatory weekly testing for students who have been approved to live on campus and optional testing for faculty, staff and other postdocs who frequent campus. All surveillance testing will be conducted by two external vendors, Verily and Color.

Jacobs said that student testing for the rest of the quarter will take place at the Alumni Center, where Verily has set up a facility with a capacity of 1,500 students per day. Testing is expected to increase rapidly as approved students return to campus and undergraduate student testing begins on Saturday. Vaden will continue to serve as a testing site in the fall, but only for confirmatory testing after a student has received a positive test from the surveillance testing. 

Drell also announced that the University is looking to launch a dashboard that will “provide metrics to the community on the outcomes of surveillance testing.” Several universities, including peer institutions like Harvard and Yale, have already set up similar dashboards to keep track of real-time COVID-19 numbers. 

In response to a question about when the dashboard would be launched, University spokesperson E.J. Miranda wrote in a statement to The Daily that the dashboard was “in development.”

“We anticipate it will be rolled out in the near future,” Miranda wrote.

As Stanford expands its testing for community members, School of Medicine dean Lloyd Minor emphasized that testing alone is not enough. 

“Surveillance testing, no matter how frequently it is done or what cohorts it involves, is not in any way substitute from the type of protective measures we should be taking in terms of wearing a mask, observing social distancing and washing our hands and being prudent about the way we conduct ourselves during this time when there’s still the virus very much among us,” he said.

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Ujwal Srivastava '23 is from Palo Alto, Calif. He is a Science & Technology Desk Editor interested in the intersection of healthcare and technology. He is majoring in Computer Science on the Biocomputation track. Contact him at usrivastava 'at' stanforddaily.com.